Bacterial infections are an important cause of mortality in liver failure. However, the type of infection, predictors of infection, and their impact on outcomes in patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) are limited.
A total of 389 patients with ACLF were admitted in this retrospective, corhort study. Once admitted, clinical data including first infection site, type (community-acquired, healthcare-associated, or nosocomial), and second infection occurrence during hospitalization were collected. The outcome was mortality within 90 days. Multivariable logistic regression models were preformed to predict second infection development and 90-day mortality. Survival probability curves were calculated by the Kaplan–Meier method.
Among 389 patients, 316 (81.2%) patients had infection. The 90-day mortality of patients with and without infection was 52.2% and 16.4%, respectively (P <.001). The most common first infection was healthcare associated (51.3%), followed by nosocomial (30.1%) and community-acquired infections (18.7%). Respiratory tract infection, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and urinary tract infection were most prevalent. Gram-positive organism was more frequently seen than gram-negative organisms. Of note, fungi accounted for 15.9% of the total infection cases. During hospitalization, 26.6% patients developed second infections. The 90-day mortality of patients developed or did not develop a second infection were 67.9% and 46.6%, respectively (P <.001). Independent predictors of 90-day mortality in infected patients with ACLF were age, white blood cell (WBC) count, model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score, hepatic encephalopathy (HE), and second infection.
Infections (regardless of first or second infection) can increase the 90-day mortality significantly in patients with ACLF. And age, WBC count, MELD score, HE, and the presence of second infection are independent risk factors affecting 90-day mortality in patients with ACLF showing infection.