Background: Acute exacerbation in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection results in different severities of liver injury. The risk factors related to progression to hepatic decompensation (HD) and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) in patients with severe acute exacerbation (SAE) of chronic HBV infection remain unknown.
Aim: To identify risk factors related to progression to HD and ACLF in compensated patients with SAE of chronic HBV infection.
Methods: The baseline characteristics of 164 patients with SAE of chronic HBV infection were retrospectively reviewed. Independent risk factors associated with progression to HD and ACLF were identified. The predictive values of our previously established prediction model in patients with acute exacerbation (AE model) and the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score in predicting the development of ACLF were evaluated.
Results: Among 164 patients with SAE, 83 (50.6%) had compensated liver cirrhosis (LC), 43 had progression to HD without ACLF, and 29 had progression to ACLF within 28 d after admission. Independent risk factors associated with progression to HD were LC and low alanine aminotransferase. Independent risk factors for progression to ACLF were LC, high MELD score, high aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, and low prothrombin activity (PTA). The area under the receiver operating characteristic of the AE model [0.844, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.779-0.896] was significantly higher than that of MELD score (0.690, 95%CI: 0.613-0.760, P < 0.05) in predicting the development of ACLF.
Conclusion: In patients with SAE of chronic HBV infection, LC is an independent risk factor for progression to both HD and ACLF. High MELD score, high AST, and low PTA are associated with progression to ACLF. The AE model is a better predictor of ACLF development in patients with SAE than MELD score.
Keywords: Acute-on-chronic liver failure; Chronic hepatitis B; Hepatic decompensation; Liver cirrhosis; Risk factors; Severe acute exacerbation.