Arterial plasma levels and hepatic extraction of renin and aldosterone (ALDO) were measured in 24 patients with alcoholic liver disease and in 14 normal subjects being evaluated as prospective kidney donors. Patients with liver disease had higher plasma concentrations and lower fractional hepatic extractions of both renin and ALDO than the normal subjects. The quantity of renin extracted by the liver was highly correlated with plasma renin in both normal subjects and patients. Plasma ALDO concentration was positively correlated with plasma renin (p < 0.001) but not with serum sodium, potassium or albumin concentration, inferior vena cava pressure, corrected hepatic venous wedge pressure, plasma volume or sulfobromophthalein storage or transport. Sixteen patients were restudied after one month. Six had received 40 mg/day of prednisolone, and the remaining 10 had received a placebo. Neither group had a change in plasma volume, corrected hepatic venous wedge pressure, plasma concentration or hepatic extraction of renin or ALDO. Serum albumin concentration increased and inferior vena cava pressure decreased with prednisolone therapy. These studies document high plasma levels and impaired hepatic extraction of renin and ALDO in patients with liver disease that are not corrected by short-term prednisolone therapy.
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