Astrid Van den broecke and Laura Van Coile have contributed equally to this study and are the joint first authors
Hypoxic hepatitis (HH) is a type of acute hepatic injury that is histologically characterized by centrilobular liver cell necrosis and that is caused by insufficient oxygen delivery to the hepatocytes. Typical for HH is the sudden and significant increase of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in response to cardiac, circulatory or respiratory failure. The aim of this study is to investigate its epidemiology, causes, evolution and outcome.
The screened population consisted of all adults admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Ghent University Hospital between January 1, 2007 and September 21, 2015. HH was defined as peak AST > 5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN) after exclusion of other causes of liver injury. Thirty-five variables were retrospectively collected and used in descriptive analysis, time series plots and Kaplan–Meier survival curves with multi-group log-rank tests.
HH was observed in 4.0% of the ICU admissions at our center. The study cohort comprised 1116 patients. Causes of HH were cardiac failure (49.1%), septic shock (29.8%), hypovolemic shock (9.4%), acute respiratory failure (6.4%), acute on chronic respiratory failure (3.3%), pulmonary embolism (1.4%) and hyperthermia (0.5%). The 28-day mortality associated with HH was 45.0%. Mortality rates differed significantly (P = 0.007) among the causes, ranging from 33.3% in the hyperthermia subgroup to 52.9 and 56.2% in the septic shock and pulmonary embolism subgroups, respectively. The magnitude of AST increase was also significantly correlated (P < 0.001) with mortality: 33.2, 44.4 and 55.4% for peak AST 5–10× ULN, 10–20× ULN and > 20× ULN, respectively.
This study surpasses by far the largest cohort of critically ill patients with HH. HH is more common than previously thought with an ICU incidence of 4.0%, and it is associated with a high all-cause mortality of 45.0% at 28 days. The main causes of HH are cardiac failure and septic shock, which include more than 3/4 of all episodes. Clinicians should search actively for any underlying hemodynamic or respiratory instability even in patients with moderately increased AST levels.
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- Epidemiology, causes, evolution and outcome in a single-center cohort of 1116 critically ill patients with hypoxic hepatitis
Astrid Van den broecke
Laura Van Coile
Hans Van Vlierberghe
- Springer International Publishing
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