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      Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure Is a Distinct Syndrome That Develops in Patients With Acute Decompensation of Cirrhosis

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          Abstract

          Patients with cirrhosis hospitalized for an acute decompensation (AD) and organ failure are at risk for imminent death and considered to have acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). However, there are no established diagnostic criteria for ACLF, so little is known about its development and progression. We aimed to identify diagnostic criteria of ACLF and describe the development of this syndrome in European patients with AD. We collected data from 1343 hospitalized patients with cirrhosis and AD from February to September 2011 at 29 liver units in 8 European countries. We used the organ failure and mortality data to define ACLF grades, assess mortality, and identify differences between ACLF and AD. We established diagnostic criteria for ACLF based on analyses of patients with organ failure (defined by the chronic liver failure-sequential organ failure assessment [CLIF-SOFA] score) and high 28-day mortality rate (>15%). Of the patients assessed, 303 had ACLF when the study began, 112 developed ACLF, and 928 did not have ACLF. The 28-day mortality rate among patients who had ACLF when the study began was 33.9%, among those who developed ACLF was 29.7%, and among those who did not have ACLF was 1.9%. Patients with ACLF were younger and more frequently alcoholic, had more associated bacterial infections, and had higher numbers of leukocytes and higher plasma levels of C-reactive protein than patients without ACLF (P < .001). Higher CLIF-SOFA scores and leukocyte counts were independent predictors of mortality in patients with ACLF. In patients without a prior history of AD, ACLF was unexpectedly characterized by higher numbers of organ failures, leukocyte count, and mortality compared with ACLF in patients with a prior history of AD. We analyzed data from patients with cirrhosis and AD to establish diagnostic criteria for ACLF and showed that it is distinct from AD, based not only on the presence of organ failure(s) and high mortality rate but also on age, precipitating events, and systemic inflammation. ACLF mortality is associated with loss of organ function and high leukocyte counts. ACLF is especially severe in patients with no prior history of AD. Copyright © 2013 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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          Most cited references30

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          Transection of the oesophagus for bleeding oesophageal varices

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            The SOFA (Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment) score to describe organ dysfunction/failure: On behalf of the Working Group on Sepsis-Related Problems of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (see contributors to the project in the appendix)

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              Disease tolerance as a defense strategy.

              The immune system protects from infections primarily by detecting and eliminating the invading pathogens; however, the host organism can also protect itself from infectious diseases by reducing the negative impact of infections on host fitness. This ability to tolerate a pathogen's presence is a distinct host defense strategy, which has been largely overlooked in animal and human studies. Introduction of the notion of "disease tolerance" into the conceptual tool kit of immunology will expand our understanding of infectious diseases and host pathogen interactions. Analysis of disease tolerance mechanisms should provide new approaches for the treatment of infections and other diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Gastroenterology
                Gastroenterology
                Elsevier BV
                00165085
                June 2013
                June 2013
                : 144
                : 7
                : 1426-1437.e9
                Article
                10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.042
                23474284
                cbe8f5ae-bc51-433e-9d49-4c855ded854a
                © 2013

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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