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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Nov;8(11):979-85. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2010.06.024. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Cirrhotic patients are at risk for health care-associated bacterial infections.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.



Bacterial infections are a frequent and serious burden among patients with cirrhosis because they can further deteriorate liver function. We assessed the epidemiology, risk factors, and clinical consequences of bacterial infections in hospitalized cirrhotic patients.


In a cohort of hospitalized cirrhotic patients (n = 150) referred to a tertiary care setting, all episodes of bacterial infections were recorded prospectively. Infections were classified as community-acquired (CA), health care-associated (HCA), or hospital-acquired (HA). Site of infection, characteristics of bacteria, and prevalence of antibiotic resistance were reported; consequences for liver function and patient survival were evaluated.


Fifty-four infections were observed among 50 patients (12 CA, 22 HCA, and 20 HA). Bacterial resistance was more frequent among patients with HCA or HA infections (64% of isolates). Mortality was 37% from HA, 36% from HCA, and 0% from CA infections. Independent predictors of infection included a previous infection within the past 12 months (P = .0001; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2-10.6), model of end-stage liver disease score ≥ 5 (P = .01; 95% CI, 1.3-6.1), and protein malnutrition (P = .04; 95% CI, 1.5-10). Infectious episodes worsened liver function in 62% of patients. Patients with infection more frequently developed ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, hyponatremia, hepatorenal syndrome, or septic shock. Child class C (P = .006; 95% CI, 1.67-23.7), sepsis (P = .005; 95% CI, 1.7-21.4), and protein malnutrition (P = .001; 95% CI, 2.8-38.5) increased mortality among patients in the hospital.


In hospitalized cirrhotic patients, the most frequent infections are HCA and HA; these infections are frequently resistant to antibiotics. As infections worsen, liver function deteriorates and mortality increases. Cirrhotic patients should be monitored closely for infections.

Copyright © 2010 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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