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J Hepatol. 2012 Jun;56(6):1299-304. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2011.12.030. Epub 2012 Feb 5.

C-reactive protein predicts short-term mortality in patients with cirrhosis.

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Université de Franche Comté et Service d'hépatologie et de soins intensifs digestifs, Besançon, France.



We aimed at improving prediction of short-term mortality in cirrhotic inpatients by evaluating C-reactive protein (CRP) as a surrogate marker of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).


One-hundred and forty-eight consecutive cirrhotic patients with Child-Pugh score ≥ B8 and without hepatocellular carcinoma were prospectively included and followed for 182 days. The primary end point was 6-month survival.


Main baseline characteristics were as follows: alcoholic liver disease in 88.5%; bacterial infection in 37%; hepatorenal syndrome in 7% of cases. CRP range was 1-240 mg/L (median 26 mg/L); 42 patients (28.4%) had SIRS as defined by ACCP/SCCM-criteria. CRP levels were higher in patients with SIRS (50 vs. 21 mg/L; p<0.0001), infection (46 vs. 27 mg/L; p<0.0001), and alcoholic hepatitis (44 vs. 32 mg/L, p=0.049). Forty-two patients died within the first 6 months of follow-up. Short-term mortality was associated with extrahepatic co-morbidities (p=0.002), high MELD score (p<0.001; AUROC=0.67), renal failure (p=0.008), elevated blood lactates (p<0.001), and high baseline CRP levels (p=0.003; AUROC=0.63; best cut-off value at 29 mg/L). Among patients with baseline CRP ≥ 29 mg/L, 32 still had CRP ≥ 29 mg/L at day 15 (group A). Group A was associated with 6-month mortality in the overall population (p<0.001) and also through sensitivity analyses restricted to patients without infection or alcoholic hepatitis. Multivariate analysis (Cox) adjusted for age identified three predictors of mortality: high MELD score (HR=1.08; 95% CI: 1.03-1.12; p<0.001), extrahepatic co-morbidities (HR=2.51; 95% CI: 1.31-4.84; p=0.006), and CRP level (group A) (HR=2.73; 95% CI: 1.41-5.26; p=0.003). The performance of the three variables taken together for predicting death was 0.80 (AUROC).


In Child-Pugh score ≥ B8 cirrhotic patients, persistent CRP levels ≥ 29 mg/L predicted short-term mortality independently of age, MELD, and co-morbidities, and better than infection or clinically-assessed SIRS.

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