Introduction: The overall outcome of septic shock has been recently improved. We sought to determine whether this survival gain extends to the high-risk subgroup of patients with cirrhosis.
Methods: Cirrhotic patients with septic shock admitted to a medical intensive care unit (ICU) during two consecutive periods (1997-2004 and 2005-2010) were retrospectively studied.
Results: Forty-seven and 42 cirrhotic patients presented with septic shock in 1997-2004 and 2005-2010, respectively. The recent period differed from the previous one by implementation of adjuvant treatments of septic shock including albumin infusion as fluid volume therapy, low-dose glucocorticoids, and intensive insulin therapy. ICU and hospital survival markedly improved over time (40% in 2005-2010 vs. 17% in 1997-2004, P = 0.02 and 29% in 2005-2010 vs. 6% in 1997-2004, P = 0.009, respectively). Furthermore, this survival gain in the latter period was sustained for 6 months (survival rate 24% in 2005-2010 vs. 6% in 1997-2004, P = 0.06). After adjustment with age, the liver disease stage (Child-Pugh score), and the critical illness severity score (SOFA score), ICU admission between 2005 and 2010 remained an independent favorable prognostic factor (odds ratio (OR) 0.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02-0.4, P = 0.004). The stage of the underlying liver disease was also independently associated with hospital mortality (Child-Pugh score: OR 1.42 per point, 95% CI 1.06-1.9, P = 0.018).
Conclusions: In the light of advances in management of both cirrhosis and septic shock, survival of such patients substantially increased over recent years. The stage of the underlying liver disease and the related therapeutic options should be included in the decision-making process for ICU admission.