Observational studies suggest that hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) patients who receive pharmacological therapy before orthotopic liver transplantation display a post-transplant outcome similar to those without HRS. The aim of this study was to comprehensively compare and rank the pharmacological therapies for HRS.


We reviewed PubMed, Elsevier, Medline, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) for studies that were published between 1 January 1999 and 24 February 2018. The primary endpoint was reversal of HRS. The secondary endpoints were the changes in serum creatinine (Scr) and serum sodium. We evaluated the different therapeutic strategies using network meta-analysis on the basis of Bayesian methodology.


The study included 24 articles with 1,419 participants evaluating seven different therapeutic strategies for HRS. The most effective treatments to induce reversal of HRS were terlipressin plus albumin, noradrenaline plus albumin, and terlipressin, which had a surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) of 0.086, 0.151, and 0.451, respectively. The top two treatments for decreasing Scr were dopamine plus furosemide plus albumin (rank probability: 0.620) and terlipressin plus albumin (rank probability: 0.570). For increasing serum sodium, the optimal treatment was octreotide plus midodrine plus albumin (rank probability: 0.800), followed by terlipressin plus albumin (rank probability: 0.544).


Terlipressin plus albumin and dopamine plus furosemide plus albumin should be prioritized for decreasing Scr in HRS, and octreotide plus midodrine plus albumin was the most effective at increasing serum sodium. Terlipressin plus albumin showed a comprehensive effect in both decreasing Scr and increasing serum sodium.

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