Prognosis and Survival Modelling in Cirrhosis Using Parenclitic Networks

Front Netw Physiol. 2022 Feb 21;2:833119. doi: 10.3389/fnetp.2022.833119. eCollection 2022.


Background: Liver cirrhosis involves multiple organ systems and has a high mortality. A network approach to complex diseases often reveals the collective system behaviours and intrinsic interactions between organ systems. However, mapping the functional connectivity for each individual patient has been challenging due to the lack of suitable analytical methods for assessment of physiological networks. In the present study we applied a parenclitic approach to assess the physiological network of each individual patient from routine clinical/laboratory data available. We aimed to assess the value of the parenclitic networks to predict survival in patients with cirrhosis. Methods: Parenclitic approach creates a network from the perspective of an individual subject in a population. In this study such an approach was used to measure the deviation of each individual patient from the existing network of physiological interactions in a reference population of patients with cirrhosis. 106 patients with cirrhosis were retrospectively enrolled and followed up for 12 months. Network construction and analysis were performed using data from seven clinical/laboratory variables (serum albumin, bilirubin, creatinine, ammonia, sodium, prothrombin time and hepatic encephalopathy) for calculation of parenclitic deviations. Cox regression was used for survival analysis. Result: Initial network analysis indicated that correlation between five clinical/laboratory variables can distinguish between survivors and non-survivors in this cohort. Parenclitic deviations along albumin-bilirubin (Hazard ratio = 1.063, p < 0.05) and albumin-prothrombin time (Hazard ratio = 1.138, p < 0.05) predicted 12-month survival independent of model for end-stage liver disease (MELD). Combination of MELD with the parenclitic measures could predict survival better than MELD alone. Conclusion: The parenclitic network approach can predict survival of patients with cirrhosis and provides pathophysiologic insight on network disruption in chronic liver disease.

Keywords: MELD; cirrhosis; network physiology; parenclitic; prognosis; survival.