• Dr A A Mundewadi

Successful Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment of Hepatorenal Syndrome

Hepatorenal syndrome is a medical condition characterized by the development of kidney failure in patients having advanced, chronic liver disease. Nearly 40 % of patients having liver cirrhosis and ascites (fluid collection in the abdominal cavity) stand a risk of developing this condition. The resulting damage in the kidneys is functional, not structural, and is believed to result from constriction of the renal arteries, with concurrent vasodilatation in the body periphery. Type 1 hepatorenal syndrome has an average survival of 2-10 weeks, while type 2 has a median survival of 3-6 months. Liver transplantation is currently the only mode of treatment in modern medicine, which can improve long term survival; however, this procedure is prohibitively costly, involves a long waiting period, and has the potential for serious complications.

Blood and urine tests as well as other tests like abdominal ultrasonography may help diagnose other causes of kidney failure, since hepatorenal syndrome is primarily a diagnosis of exclusion. No specific modern medicine is currently known to be useful in the treatment of this condition. It is important to look for precipitating factors like infection and obstruction, which can be potentially treated completely, with chances of reversing the condition. Paracentesis (removal of accumulated water from the abdominal cavity) can relieve symptoms and may also help partially reverse the condition.

Hepatorenal syndrome is one medical condition where the timely institution of Ayurvedic herbal treatment can dramatically change the characteristically poor prognosis of this disease. Treated with high doses of herbal medicines, ascites can be virtually cleared up within two to three months. Depending upon the severity of liver and kidney damage, liver and kidney parameters return to near normal levels within three to six months. It is important to commence treatment at the earliest in order to get maximum beneficial results.

It is equally important to maintain the morale of the patient, since modern medicine has little to offer other than liver transplantation, and most patients can be devastated on receiving this information. Regular monitoring of the patient is essential by different health professionals, including the nephrologist, general physician, and nutritionist. This can help maintain the patient’s health and day-to-day care, and detect any new or unforeseen medical situations.

Ayurvedic herbal medicines are usually continued in high doses till the patient is completely asymptomatic, with stable liver and kidney parameters for at least three to four months. After this, the dosage of medicines may be gradually tapered with careful monitoring. In order to prevent a relapse, in most patients, it is advisable to continue a few medicines for the kidney and liver on a long term basis, or possibly, lifelong.

Most patients can lead near normal lives with a good quality of life, and with the minimum possible medication. Ayurvedic herbal medicines can thus be utilized in the successful and comprehensive management of hepatorenal syndrome.

Hepatorenal syndrome, Ayurvedic treatment, herbal medicines.

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