Source Université de Franche Comté et Service d'hépatologie et de soins intensifs digestifs, Besançon, France.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: 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).
METHODS: One-hundred and forty-eight consecutive cirrhotic patients with Child-Pugh score B8 and without hepatocellular carcinoma were prospectively included and followed for 182days. The primary end point was 6-month survival.
RESULTS: Main baseline characteristics were as follows: alcoholic liver disease in 88.5%; bacterial infection in 37%; hepatorenal syndrome in 7%. CRP range was 1-240mg/L (median 25mg/L); 42 patients (28.4%) had SIRS as defined by ACCP/SCCM-criteria. CRP levels were higher in patients with SIRS (50 vs. 21mg/L; p<0.0001), infection (46 vs. 27mg/L; p<0.0001), and alcoholic hepatitis (44 vs. 32mg/L, p=0.049). Forty-two patients died within the first 6months 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 29mg/L). Of patients with baseline CRP ⩾29mg/L, 32 still had CRP ⩾29mg/L at day 15 (group A). Group A was associated with 6-month mortality in the overall population (p<0.001) and also through sentitivity 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).
CONCLUSIONS: In Child-Pugh score B8 cirrhotic patients, persistent CRP levels ⩾29mg/L predicted short-term mortality independently of age, MELD, and co-morbidities, and better than infection or clinically-assessed SIRS.