Background: Liver cirrhosis is associated with an increased risk of infection and a poor prognosis, but the role of alcoholism in these outcomes is uncertain. This study looks at the short-term prognosis for bacteremia in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis, and alcoholism, compared with the prognosis for other bacteremia cases.
Methods: All patients who were hospitalized with their first community-acquired bacteremia in North Jutland County, Denmark, in the period 1992 to 2002 were retrieved from a population-based bacteremia registry. Denmark's Hospital Discharge Registry then allowed us to disaggregate these patients into the following groups: 47 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, 19 with nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis, 190 with alcoholism, and a comparison group of 3,535 other bacteremia cases. Using logistic regression, we estimated odds ratios (ORs) for 30-day case fatality for the main study variable, adjusted for gender, age, focus of infection, and comorbidity.
Results: The case fatality rate (CFR) was 43% for patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, 32% for patients with nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis, 24% for patients with alcoholism, and 15% for other bacteremia patients. The adjusted OR estimates for patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis, nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis, and alcoholism compared with other bacteremia cases were 6.3 (95% CI 3.3–11.7), 2.4 (95% CI 0.9–6.7), and 2.5 (95% CI 1.7–3.7), respectively. Focus of infection and group of bacteria did not noticeably affect the increased CFR.
Conclusion: Liver cirrhosis and alcoholism were associated with a poor short-term prognosis for community-acquired bacteremia. Liver cirrhosis and alcoholism may have independent effects on the prognosis for patients with liver cirrhosis and bacteremia.