Background/aims: Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is one of the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality in the course of liver cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to determine the independent predictors of morbidity, mortality, and survival after the first episode of GI bleeding in patients with liver cirrhosis.
Methods: In a retrospective study of 403 cirrhotic patients who were admitted in the period January 1982 to December 1994 because of a first episode of GI hemorrhage, epidemiological factors, bleeding-related variables and cirrhosis-related variables that may be associated with hepatic and extrahepatic complications, mortality at 48 h and 6 weeks, and survival up to 30 June 1996 were assessed.
Results: Forty-five percent of patients developed hepatic and/or extrahepatic complications, with a mortality rate of 7.4% at 48 h and 24% at 6 weeks. Renal failure, rebleeding, hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatic encephalopathy were independent predictors of mortality. The Kaplan-Meier method showed a median survival of 30.9+/-4.5 months (95% confidence interval 22 to 39.7 months). The cumulative percentage of survivors was 60.2% at 1 year, 33.6% at 5 years, and 14% at 10 years. In a Cox's multiple regression analysis, age, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatocellular carcinoma, Child-Pugh grade, and renal failure were independently associated with long-term survival.
Conclusions: The first episode of GI bleeding in patients with liver cirrhosis is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Renal failure, rebleeding, hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatic encephalopathy were independent risk factors for early death.