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Summary

Background

Cirrhotic patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) still have poor outcomes. Some current ICU prognostic models [Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE), Organ System Failure (OSF) and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA)] were used to stratify cirrhotics into risk categories, but few cirrhotics were included in the original model development. Liver-specific scores [Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) and model for end-stage liver disease (MELD)] could be useful in this setting.

Aim

To evaluate whether ICU prognostic models perform better compared with liver-disease specific ones in cirrhotics admitted to ICU.

Methods

We performed a structured literature review identifying clinical studies focusing on prognosis and risk factors for mortality in adult cirrhotics admitted to ICU.

Results

We found 21 studies (five solely dealing with gastrointestinal bleeding) published during the last 20 years (54–420 patients in each). APACHE II and III, SOFA and OSF had better discrimination for correctly predicting death compared with the CTP score. The MELD score was evaluated only in one study and had good predictive accuracy [receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve: 0.81). Organ dysfunction models (OSF, SOFA) were superior compared with APACHE II and III (ROC curve: range 0.83–0.94 vs. 0.66–0.88 respectively). Cardiovascular, liver and renal system dysfunction were more frequently independently associated with mortality.

Conclusions

General-ICU models had better performance in cirrhotic populations compared with CTP score; OSF and SOFA had the best predictive ability. Further prospective and validation studies are needed.