2019 Volume 13 Issue 2 Pages 189-196
Administration of the selective arginine vasopressin V2 receptor antagonist tolvaptan to cirrhotic patients is controversial. There are no reports of tolvaptan use for patients with far-advanced end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and refractory ascites awaiting liver transplantation. Between 2013 and 2016, 64 patients awaiting adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) were screened for enrollment. Patients with refractory ascites and on dual conventional diuretics (≥ 50 mg/day of spironolactone and ≥ 20 mg/day of a loop diuretic) were enrolled and assigned to the tolvaptan (TOL) group (n = 10), and low-dose tolvaptan, 3.75 mg/day, was started. The remaining patients who had no or little ascites on conventional diuretic therapy (CDT) were assigned to the CDT group (n = 23). The median model for end-stage liver disease and Child-Pugh scores were 16 (range 7-41) and 10 (7-15), respectively. The median dose of spironolactone in the TOL group was 88 mg (range 50-200) vs. 50 (0-100) in the CDT group (p < 0.01). The median dose of loop diuretics in the TOL group was 70 mg (20-120) vs. 20 (0-80) in the CDT group (p = 0.03). No significant liver damage was detected during tolvaptan therapy. Tolvaptan demonstrated favorable effects in 60% (6/10) of the patients, decreasing the body weight by at least 1.5 kg during the 7 day treatment. These findings suggest that low-dose of tolvaptan may be safe for patients having far-advanced ESLD patients with apparent and refractory ascites taking dual conventional diuretics for a short period before LDLT.