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Kidney Int. 1998 Aug;54(2):518-24.

Impact of acute renal failure on mortality in end-stage liver disease with or without transplantation.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.



Acute renal failure (ARF) is traditionally considered a poor prognostic factor in end-stage liver disease and is associated with a mortality approaching 90%. While the increased use of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTX) has changed the outcome for patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD), it is not clear whether this has affected the outcome of patients with ESLD and ARF.


We prospectively followed the course of ARF in 177 patients with ESLD being evaluated for OLTX. Of these patients 111 received OLTX. In-hospital mortality was compared to that of 316 ESLD patients without ARF, of these 196 received OLTX. Variables include severity of illness as assessed by APACHE II, co-morbid conditions, oliguria, need for renal replacement therapy, and etiologies of ESLD and ARF. These variables were evaluated with respect to the outcome in-hospital mortality by multiple regression analysis for patients with ARF.


Mortality was significantly higher in oliguric versus non-oliguric patients and in patients who required renal replacement therapy. Mortality correlated strongly with the number of co-morbid conditions, especially sepsis, encephalopathy, respiratory failure, and DIC. For OLTX recipients who developed ARF, no significant difference in survival occurred whether the ARF was pre-OLTX or post-OLTX.


ARF was associated with an increased mortality consistent with the known adverse prognostic effect of ARF in ESLD. However, the effect of ARF on mortality was remarkably reduced in patients who received a functioning OLTX. Since expected mortality generated from APACHE II scores was higher in the ARF groups, it is not clear that there is an additional effect of ARF beyond the physiologic derangements captured by APACHE II. ARF per se should not necessarily be a contraindication to liver transplant.

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