Background/aims: In cirrhotic patients, bacterial infection is frequently associated with gastrointestinal bleeding and seems to increase mortality. The aims of this study were to determine the incidence of bacterial infections in bleeding cirrhotic patients and the influence of infections on the risk of rebleeding and death.
Methods: Cirrhotic patients admitted for gastrointestinal bleeding who had not received antimicrobial chemotherapy in the previous 7 days were included. Blood, urine, and ascitic fluid cultures were systematically performed 1, 2, 4, and 7 days after admission.
Results: Sixty-four patients were enrolled. Forty-two bacterial infections were documented in 23 patients (36%) within 7 days of admission. In patients with bacterial infection, mean Child-Pugh score and mean number of blood units transfused were significantly higher, early rebleeding was more frequent (43.5% vs. 9.8%; P < 0.01), and 4-week mortality was higher (47.8% vs. 14.6%; P < 0.01). Multivariate analysis only identified bacterial infections as predictive of early rebleeding (P < 0.02) and a high Child-Pugh score as predictive of death (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: In bleeding cirrhotic patients, bacterial infections only increase the risk of early rebleeding, and mortality is related to the severity of cirrhosis.