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Am J Gastroenterol. 2000 May;95(5):1290-3.

Bacterial infection in cirrhotic patients and its relationship with alcohol.

Author information

1
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Federal University of Goiás, School of Medicine, Goiânia, Brazil.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Infections are regarded as a major complication and an important cause of death in cirrhotics. Alcohol is a predisposing factor to infections in such patients. This study was undertaken to compare the frequency and evolution of bacterial infection among alcoholic and nonalcoholic cirrhotics.

METHODS:

To observe this relationship, we retrospectively studied a cohort of 382 cirrhotic inpatients, 201 of whom were alcoholic (alcohol intake > or =80 g/day for > or =10 yr) and 181 of whom were nonalcoholic.

RESULTS:

A total of 128 (33.5%) patients presented with infection upon hospitalization, 78 of whom were alcoholic and 50 of whom were nonalcoholic (p = 0.02). A total of 157 cases of infection were diagnosed, with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis as the most prevalent one (54.1%), followed by pneumonia (18.5%), infection of the soft parts (10.8%), and urinary tract infection (7.0%). Infection and deaths were more frequent in patients with Child-Pugh C than in those with Child-Pugh A/B (p = 0.003, p = 0.0002 respectively). Alcoholic patients with Child-Pugh A/B were more susceptible to infection compared to nonalcoholic patients (p = 0.02), although no difference was noted as to the number of deaths (p = 0.1). With regard to patients with Child-Pugh C, no statistical difference was found in the infections or deaths among alcoholics and nonalcoholics (p = 0.8, p = 0.8).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that, despite the fact that bacterial infections are more common in cirrhotic alcoholics, its seems that the mortality rate is associated more with the severity than with the etiology of the hepatic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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