Background/aims: The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence and associated risk factors for bacterial translocation in patients with cirrhosis, a mechanism involved in the pathogenesis of bacterial infections in experimental cirrhosis.
Methods: Mesenteric lymph nodes were obtained for microbiological culture from 101 patients with cirrhosis and from 35 non-cirrhotic patients.
Results: Enteric organisms were grown from mesenteric lymph nodes in 8.6% of non-cirrhotic patients. In the 79 cirrhotic patients without selective intestinal decontamination, the prevalence of bacterial translocation significantly increased according to the Child-Pugh classification: 3.4% in Child A, 8.1% in Child B and 30.8% in Child C patients (chi2 = 6.106, P < 0.05). However, translocation by Enterobacteriaceae, the organisms commonly responsible for spontaneous bacteremia and peritonitis in cirrhosis, was only observed in 25% of the cases. The prevalence of bacterial translocation in the 22 cirrhotic patients undergoing selective intestinal decontamination, all Child-Pugh class B and C, was 4.5%. The Child-Pugh score was the only independent predictive factor for bacterial translocation (odds ratio 2.22, P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Translocation of enteric organisms to mesenteric lymph nodes is increased in patients with advanced cirrhosis and is reduced to the level found in non-cirrhotic patients by selective intestinal decontamination.