The interrelationship among portal vein pressure,99mTc sulfur colloid liver/spleen scan abnormality, and serum E. coli antibody titers has been examined in 33 patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and compared with 24 patients with liver disease not related to alcohol (non-ALD). A correlation between portal vein pressure and liver scan abnormality is seen in both groups, but for a given degree of portal hypertension there is a much greater redistribution of sulfur colloid in the ALD group (P<0.01). E. coli antibody titers are significantly higher in the ALD patients compared with the non-ALD patients (P<0.02), and they show a positive correlation with scan abnormality but not with portal vein pressure. It is suggested that the differences in scan appearance and E. coli antibody titers in these two groups of liver disease patients may be related to differences in intrahepatic shunting.
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