Bacterial translocation of enteric organisms in patients with cirrhosis

J Hepatol. 2001 Jan;34(1):32-7. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8278(00)00013-1.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bacterial Translocation*
  • Enterobacteriaceae / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / microbiology*
  • Lymph Nodes / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged