Beta-blockers in hospitalised patients with cirrhosis and ascites: mortality and factors determining discontinuation and reinitiation.

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Beta-blockers in hospitalised patients with cirrhosis and ascites: mortality and factors determining discontinuation and reinitiation.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Jan;47(1):78-85

Authors: Bhutta AQ, Garcia-Tsao G, Reddy KR, Tandon P, Wong F, O'Leary JG, Acharya C, Banerjee D, Abraldes JG, Jones TM, Shaw J, Deng Y, Ciarleglio M, Bajaj JS

Abstract
BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that beta-blockers may increase mortality in patients with cirrhosis and refractory ascites but the effect of beta-blockers discontinuation or reinitiation has not been examined.
AIMS: To compare, in hospitalised patients with cirrhosis and ascites, the effect of BB on survival and to examine the effect/predictors of beta-blockers discontinuation and reinitiation.
METHODS: Sub-analysis of NACSELD (North American consortium for the study of end-stage liver disease, database containing prospective data on hospitalised patients with cirrhosis) data from 7 centres enrolling >100 patients with ascites. Data on BB discontinuation and reinitiation were collected by chart review.
RESULTS: Seven hundred and sixteen patients, 307 (43%) on beta-blockers at admission and 366 (51%) with refractory ascites, were followed to death or hospital discharge. Beta-blocker use was associated with a lower white blood cell count at admission. Beta-blocker use in hospitalised patients with ascites was not associated with a higher mortality, even in those with refractory ascites. No significant changes in mean arterial pressure (MAP) were observed between groups. Discontinuation of beta-blockers (49%) was driven by low MAP, infection and acute kidney injury at time of discontinuation but was not associated with a higher mortality. Beta-blocker reinitiation occurred in 40% prior to discharge and was mainly driven by an increase in MAP.
CONCLUSIONS: Beta-blocker use is safe in patients with cirrhosis and ascites (including those with refractory ascites) provided beta-blockers are discontinued in the presence of a low MAP and reinitiated once MAP reincreases. A potentially beneficial anti-inflammatory effect of beta-blockers is suggested.

PMID: 28994122 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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