Background: Red blood cell distribution width (RDW) is increased in liver disease. Its clinical significance, however, remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to identify whether RDW was a prognostic index for liver disease.
Methods: We studied, retrospectively, 33 patients with non-cirrhotic HBV chronic hepatitis, 125 patients with liver cirrhosis after HBV infection, 81 newly diagnosed primary hepatocellular carcinoma (pHCC) patients, 17 alcoholic liver cirrhosis patients and 42 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Sixty-six healthy individuals represented the control cohort. We analyzed the relationship between RDW on admission and clinical features. The association between RDW and hospitalization outcome was estimated by receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis and a multivariable logistic regression model.
Results: Increased RDW was observed in liver disease patients. RDW was positively correlated with serum bilirubin and creatinine levels, prothrombin time, and negatively correlated with platelet counts and serum albumin concentration. A subgroup analysis, considering the different etiologies, revealed similar findings. Among the patients with liver cirrhosis, RDW increased with worsening of Child-Pugh grade. In patients with PBC, RDW positively correlated with Mayo risk score. Increased RDW was associated with worse hospital outcome, as shown by the AUC [95% confidence interval (CI)] of 0.76 (0.67-0.84). RDW above 15.15% was independently associated with poor hospital outcome after adjustment for serum bilirubin, platelet count, prothrombin time, albumin and age, with the odds ratio (95% CI) of 13.29 (1.67-105.68).
Conclusions: RDW is a potential prognostic index for liver disease.