Association Between Grade of Acute on Chronic Liver Failure and Response to Terlipressin and Albumin in Patients With Hepatorenal Syndrome

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Nov;16(11):1792-1800.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2018.01.035. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Background & aims: Type 1 hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) is the most high-risk type of renal failure in patients with cirrhosis. Terlipressin and albumin are effective treatments for type 1 HRS. However, the effects of acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF) grade on response to treatment are not clear. We aimed to identify factors associated with response to treatment with terlipressin and albumin in patients with type 1 HRS (reduction in serum level of creatinine to below 1.5 mg/dL at the end of treatment) and factors associated with death within 90 days of HRS diagnosis (90-day mortality).

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 4 different cohorts of consecutive patients with HRS treated with terlipressin and albumin from February 2007 through January 2016 at medical centers in Europe (total, 298 patients). We analyzed demographic, clinical, and laboratory data collected before and during treatment; patients were followed until death, liver transplantation, or 90 days after HRS diagnosis.

Results: Response to treatment was observed in 53% of patients. Of patients with grade 1 ACLF, 60% responded to treatment; among those with grade 2 ACLF, 48% responded, and among those with grade 3 ACLF, 29% responded (P < .001 for comparison between grades). In multivariate analysis, baseline serum level of creatinine (odds ratio, 0.23; P = .001) and ACLF grade (odds ratio, 0.63; P = .01) were independently associated with response to treatment. Patient age (hazard ratio [HR], 1.05; P < .001), white blood cell count (HR, 1.51; P = .006), ACLF grade (HR, 2.06; P < .001), and no response to treatment (HR, 0.41; P < .001) associated with 90-day mortality.

Conclusion: In a retrospective analysis of data from 4 cohorts of patients treated for type 1 HRS, we found ACLF grade to be the largest determinant of response to terlipressin and albumin. ACLF grade affects survival independently of response to treatment. New therapeutic strategies should be developed for patients with type 1 HRS and extrarenal organ failure.

Keywords: Acute kidney Injury; Cirrhosis; Hepatorenal Syndrome; Liver Transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-On-Chronic Liver Failure / pathology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / complications*
  • Hepatorenal Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serum Albumin, Human / administration & dosage*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Terlipressin / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Terlipressin
  • Serum Albumin, Human