Infection is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality in cirrhosis, but presumably not all infections carry the same risk of mortality. We compared outcomes of different sites of infection in a nationally representative sample of inpatients with cirrhosis.
We queried the Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) for patients with cirrhosis from 2011-2014. Cirrhosis and infection diagnoses were identified by previously used algorithms of ICD-9 codes. The following infections were compared: urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia, cellulitis, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). The primary outcome was inpatient mortality. Secondary outcomes included sepsis, any organ failure, multiple organ failures, and 30-day readmission. Outcomes were analyzed using logistic regression and included a priori covariates.
1,798,830 weighted index admissions were identified. Infection was present in 29.2% overall – including UTI (13.7%), pneumonia (8.9%), cellulitis (5.2%), CDI (2.8%), and SBP (2.0%). Mortality was significantly higher in pneumonia (19.6%), SBP (18.6%), and CDI (17.4%) compared to cellulitis (7.6%) and UTI (11.8%). Sepsis, any, and multiple organ failures were most commonly seen in pneumonia, SBP, and CDI. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that pneumonia had the highest associated mortality (OR 2.73, CI 2.68-2.80) and multiple organ failures (OR 3.59, CI 3.50-3.68). Significantly increased 30-day readmission was seen only with SBP (24.9%).
Outcomes of inpatients with cirrhosis vary significantly depending on the type of infection. The severity and epidemiology of infection in cirrhosis appears to be shifting with pneumonia, not SBP, having the highest prevalence of multiple organ failures and inpatient mortality.

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