Background: The aim of the study was to investigate the incidenc, predictive factors, and prognosis of the hepatorenal syndrome in cirrhosis with ascites.
Methods: The study is a follow-up investigation in 234 nonazotemic patients with cirrhosis and ascites. Thirty-nine variables obtained at inclusion were analyzed as possible predictors of hepatorenal syndrome occurrence (Kaplan-Meier method, Mantel-Cox test, and step-wise Cox regression procedure).
Results: The probability of hepatorenal syndrome occurrence was 18% at 1 year and 39% at 5 years. Sixteen variables had predictive value for hepatorenal syndrome occurrence in the univariate analysis: history of ascites, hepatomegaly, nutritional status, blood urea nitrogen level, serum creatinine concentration, serum sodium and potassium concentration, serum and urine osmolality, urinary sodium excretion, free water clearance after a water load, glomerular filtration rate, arterial pressure, plasma renin activity, plasma norepinephrine concentration, and esophageal varices. Neither etiology (alcoholic vs. nonalcoholic) nor the Child-Pugh score had predictive value. A multivariate analysis disclosed only three independent predictors of hepatorenal syndrome occurrence: low serum sodium concentration, high plasma renin activity, and absence of hepatomegaly.
Conclusions: The hepatorenal syndrome is a relatively frequent complication in cirrhotic patients with ascites that is associated with an extremely short survival. Liver size, plasma renin activity, and serum sodium concentration are predictors of hepatorenal syndrome occurrence in these patients.