The inappropriate cessation of nucleos(t)ide analog (NA) therapy may lead to acute exacerbations of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF), and even death. This study aims to elucidate the association between inappropriate NA cessation and prognosis in patients with HBV-ACLF. A total of 901 patients with ACLF were enrolled and stratified into inappropriate NA cessation and non-NA cessation group. Clinical characteristics and prognosis between the two groups were compared. The association between inappropriate NA cessation and the prognosis of patients with HBV-ACLF was evaluated using Cox proportional hazard models after propensity score matching (PSM). NA cessation was identified in 132 patients (NA cessation group), while 769 patients were triggered by other factors (non-NA cessation group). The 28- and 90-day liver transplant-free survival rates were higher in patients with non-NA cessation than in those with NAs cessation (78.3 % vs. 62.1 %, P < 0.001; 62.8 % vs. 44.7 %, P < 0.001). The need for liver transplantation was significantly higher in the NA cessation group compared with the non-NAs cessation group (21.2 % vs. 7.0 %, P < 0.001). The Kaplan-Meier curve showed that inappropriate NA therapy discontinuation had reduced 28- and 90-day live transplant-free survival compared with other precipitating events prior to PSM (all P < 0.001). After matching, the 28- and 90-day transplantation-free survival was also significantly lower in the NA cessation group vs. the non-NA cessation group (P = 0.012 and P = 0.022). In conclusion, the inappropriate cessation of NA therapy is associated with reduced liver transplant-free survival in patients with HBV-related ACLF.
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