A Karnofsky performance status-based score predicts death after hospital discharge in patients with cirrhosis

Hepatology. 2017 Jan;65(1):217-224. doi: 10.1002/hep.28900. Epub 2016 Nov 29.


Identification of patients with cirrhosis at risk for death within 3 months of discharge from the hospital is essential to individualize postdischarge plans. The objective of the study was to identify an easy-to-use prognostic model based on the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS). The North American Consortium for the Study of End-Stage Liver Disease consists of 16 tertiary-care hepatology centers that prospectively enroll nonelectively admitted cirrhosis patients. Patients enrolled had KPS assessed 1 week postdischarge. KPS was categorized into low (score 10-40), intermediate (50-70), and high (80-100). Of 954 middle-aged patients (57 ± 10 years, 63% men) with a median Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score of 17 (interquartile range 13-21), the mortality rates for the low, intermediate, and high performance status groups were 23% (36/159), 11% (55/489), and 5% (15/306), respectively. Low, intermediate, and high performance status was seen in 17%, 51%, and 32% of the cohort, respectively. Low performance status was associated with older age, dialysis, hepatic encephalopathy, longer length of stay, and higher white blood cell count or MELD score at discharge. A model was derived using the three independent predictors of 3-month mortality: KPS, age, and MELD score. This score had better discrimination (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.74) than a model using MELD (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.62) or MELD and age (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.67) to predict 3-month mortality.

Conclusions: Cirrhosis patients at risk for 3-month postdischarge mortality can be identified using a novel KPS-based score; this score may be adopted in practice to guide postdischarge early interventions, including the integrated provision of active and palliative management strategies. (Hepatology 2017;65:217-224).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Karnofsky Performance Status*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Patient Discharge
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies