Use of non-selective B-blockers is safe in hospitalised decompensated cirrhosis patients and exerts a potential anti-inflammatory effect: Data from the ATTIRE trial

Link to article at PubMed

EClinicalMedicine. 2022 Nov 14;55:101716. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101716. eCollection 2023 Jan.


BACKGROUND: Nonselective B-blockers (NSBBs) are believed to have pleiotropic effects beyond reducing portal pressure. However, studies also report potential harm in patients hospitalized with cirrhosis and ascites. We therefore investigated whether NSBB use at ATTIRE trial entry (Albumin to prevent infection in chronic liver failure, 2016-19) was associated with increased renal or cardiovascular dysfunction, compared the incidence of infection and plasma markers of systemic inflammation, and examined mortality at 28-days, 3 and 6-months.

METHODS: In ATTIRE patients grouped by NSBB use at trial entry, we studied infection at baseline, hospital acquired infection and organ dysfunction during trial treatment period and mortality, with propensity score matching to account for differences in disease severity.

FINDINGS: There were no differences in renal or cardiovascular dysfunction between patients treated with NSBBs or not, during days 3-15 of hospitalization, despite elevated serum creatinine in NSBB patients at hospitalisation. Use of NSBBs was associated with a significant reduction in infection at hospitalization (p = 0.006), lower white cell counts throughout hospital stay (p < 0.001) and reduced plasma procalcitonin (p = 0.009) and interlukin-8 levels (p = 0.04) at baseline, but markers of bacterial translocation and systemic inflammation were the same in treatment groups. There was no reduction in hospital acquired infections in patients taking NSBBs and no beneficial impact on mortality at 28-days, 3 and 6-months.

INTERPRETATIONS: Our real-world data from a completed randomised trial show that use of NSBBs in decompensated cirrhosis patients is safe during hospitalisation. We also show a potential anti-inflammatory role for NSBBs which may be mediated by a downregulation of IL-8 induced leucocytosis, that was associated with reduced infection at baseline but not a survival benefit.

FUNDING: Wellcome Trust and Department of Health and Social Care.

PMID:36407574 | PMC:PMC9672423 | DOI:10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101716

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