Survival and predictors of outcome among patients with decompensated liver disease in a non-liver transplant intensive care unit. Pessimism is historical and unjustified

Victoria Sadick*, Emma Bowcock, Stuart Lane, Ian Seppelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Recent literature emanating from the United Kingdom and United States has reported decreasing mortality rates in patients with decompensated cirrhosis and organ failures presenting to the intensive care unit (ICU). Aim: To determine if there were comparable outcomes in a single-centre non-transplant unit in Australia. Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted in a tertiary, non-liver transplant unit in Sydney, Australia. Admission data and mortality outcomes were collected from patients with cirrhosis non-electively admitted to ICU between 2013 and 2017. Liver-specific and general intensive care scoring tools were also assessed for their discriminative ability to predict short-term prognostic outcomes. Results: Sixty-three patients were admitted with decompensated liver disease who fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The overall hospital mortality was 37% (95% CI: 0.26–0.49). There was no difference in survival based on aetiology of liver disease (P = 0.96) but a significant difference was found based on the presenting diagnosis, with greater survival among patients diagnosed with hepatic encephalopathy on ICU admission (P = 0.02). There was 4% mortality in patients with no organ failure and 52% mortality in those with ≥3 organs in failure (P < 0.001). The ICU prognostic Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score was the better discriminative tool in predicting short-term outcomes when compared to liver prognostic scores. Conclusion: The outcomes of this single-centre Australian study align with current overseas literature. These results reinforce and expand on limited local evidence, corroborating the former universal prognostic pessimism towards cirrhotic patients with organ failure as unwarranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-752
Number of pages8
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • decompensated liver failure
  • intensive care outcomes
  • mortality
  • organ failure
  • prognostic scoring tools

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