Prognostic models in cirrhotics admitted to intensive care units better predict outcome when assessed at 48 h after admission


Professor Andrew K. Burroughs, Liver Transplantation and Hepatobililary Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, Hampstead, London NW3 2QG, UK. Email:


Background and Aim:  The accuracy of prognostic models in critically ill cirrhotics at admission to intensive care units (ICU) may be unreliable. Predictive accuracy could be improved by evaluating changes over time, but this has not been published. The aim of the present study was to assess the performance of prognostic models in cirrhotics at admission (baseline) and at 48 h to predict mortality in the ICU or within 6 weeks after discharge from the ICU.

Methods:  One hundred and twenty-eight cirrhotics (77 males, mean age 49 ± 11.3 years) were consecutively admitted and alive 48 h after admission with 89% on mechanical ventilation, 76% on inotrope support, and 42% with renal failure. Prognostic models used were Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP), Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD), Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA), failing organ systems (FOS) at baseline and at 48 h, Δscore (difference between baseline and at 48 h) and the mean score (MN − score admission + 48 h/2) which were compared by area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC).

Results:  Mortality was 54.7% (n = 70) due to multiple organ failure in 55%. CTP, MELD, APACHE II, SOFA and FOS performed better at 48 h (AUC: 0.78, 0.86, 0.78, 0.88 and 0.85, respectively) than at baseline (AUC: 0.75, 0.78, 0.75, 0.81 and 0.79, respectively). The mean score had better discrimination than the baseline score; the Δscore had poor predictive ability (AUC < 0.70). SOFA score (48 h: 0.88, mean: 0.88) and FOS (mean: 0.88) had the best accuracy, with a SOFA and MN-SOFA ≥ 10 predicting mortality in 93% and 91%, respectively, and MN-FOS ≥ 1.5 in 98%.

Conclusions:  In cirrhotics, prognostic scores in the ICU at 48 h had better discrimination than baseline scores for short-term mortality. SOFA and FOS models had the best performance.