Role of proton pump inhibitors in the occurrence and the prognosis of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in cirrhotic patients with ascites

Liver Int. 2013 Oct;33(9):1316-23. doi: 10.1111/liv.12210. Epub 2013 Jun 3.


Background: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) facilitate intestinal bacterial translocation. No robust data exist demonstrating that PPIs increase the risk of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and that PPIs worsen the prognosis of SBP patients. PPI use might be unsuitable for cirrhotic patients.

Aims: To analyse: (i) the role of PPIs in the occurrence of SBP in cirrhotic patients; (ii) their impact on the prognosis of SBP patients; and (iii) the suitability of their use.

Methods: In this retrospective case-control study, PPI use was first assessed in cirrhotic patients consecutively admitted with SBP (group I) and in a control group that included the same number of uninfected cirrhotic patients with ascites (group II). Afterwards, the impact of PPIs on SBP was assessed in group I by comparing survival of patients with and without PPIs.

Results: A total of 102 patients were included, 51 in each group. (i) SBP patients were more frequently treated by PPIs than controls (49 vs. 25%, P = 0.014). (ii) In group I, patients with (n = 25) and without (n = 26) PPIs had similar survival rates at 1 month (64.0 ± 9.6% vs. 59.4 ± 10.0%), 3 months (41.2 ± 10.2% vs. 44.6 ± 10.6%), and 1 year (26.6 ± 9.6% vs. 28.9 ± 10.1%), and similar median age at death (53 vs. 57 years). (iii) The reason for PPI use was inappropriate or undocumented in 34% of group I and II.

Conclusions: Proton pump inhibitors were more frequently used in SBP patients than in controls, but did not influence the prognosis in SBP. Overuse of PPIs was encountered in one-third of cirrhotic patients and should be avoided.

Keywords: ascites; cirrhosis; proton pump inhibitors; spontaneous bacterial peritonitis; survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Ascites / complications*
  • Ascites / microbiology
  • Bacterial Translocation / drug effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / microbiology
  • Peritonitis / etiology*
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors