Comparison of scoring systems and outcome of patients admitted to a liver intensive care unit of a tertiary referral centre with severe variceal bleeding

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Jun;39(11):1286-300. doi: 10.1111/apt.12744. Epub 2014 Apr 16.


Background: Acute variceal haemorrhage (AVH) is associated with significant mortality.

Aims: To determine outcome and factors associated with hospital mortality (HM) in patients with AVH admitted to intensive care unit (ICU) and to compare outcomes of patients requiring transfer to a tertiary ICU (transfer group, TG) to a local in-patient group (LG).

Methods: A retrospective study of all adult patients (N = 177) admitted to ICU with AVH from 2000-2008 was performed.

Results: Median age was 48 years (16-80). Male represented 58%. Median MELD score was 16 (6-39), SOFA score was 8 (6-11). HM was higher in patients who had severe liver disease or critical illness measured by MELD, SOFA, APACHE II scores and number of failed organs (NFO), P < 0.05. Patients with day-1 lactate ≥ 2 mmol/L had increased HM (P < 0.001). MELD score performed as well as APACHE II, SOFA and NFO (P < 0.001) in predicting HM (AUROC = 0.84, 0.81, 0.79 and 0.82, respectively P > 0.05 for pair wise comparisons). Re-bleeding was associated with increased HM (56.9% vs. 31.6%, P = 0.002). The TG (n = 124) had less severe liver disease and critical illness and consequently had lower HM than local patients (32% vs. 57%, P = 0.002). TG patients with ≥2 endoscopies prior to transfer had increased 6-week mortality (P = 0.03). Time from bleeding to transfer ≥3 days was associated with re-bleeding (OR = 2.290, P = 0.043).

Conclusions: MELD score was comparable to ICU prognostic models in predicting mortality. Blood lactate was also predictive of hospital mortality. Delays in referrals and repeated endoscopy were associated with increased re-bleeding and mortality in this group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Critical Illness
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / physiopathology*
  • Esophageal and Gastric Varices / therapy
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / physiopathology*
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Length of Stay
  • Liver Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid