Management of sepsis in a cirrhotic patient admitted to the intensive care unit: A systematic literature review

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World J Hepatol. 2023 Jun 27;15(6):850-866. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v15.i6.850.


BACKGROUND: Sepsis is a severe medical condition that occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to an infection, leading to life-threatening organ dysfunction. The "Third international consensus definitions for sepsis and septic shock (Sepsis-3)" defines sepsis as an increase in sequential organ failure assessment score of 2 points or more, with a mortality rate above 10%. Sepsis is a leading cause of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and patients with underlying conditions such as cirrhosis have a higher risk of poor outcomes. Therefore, it is critical to recognize and manage sepsis promptly by administering fluids, vasopressors, steroids, and antibiotics, and identifying and treating the source of infection.

AIM: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing literature on the management of sepsis in cirrhotic patients admitted to the ICU and compare the management of sepsis between cirrhotic and non-cirrhotic patients in the ICU.

METHODS: This study is a systematic literature review that followed the PRISMA statement's standardized search method. The search for relevant studies was conducted across multiple databases, including PubMed, Embase, Base, and Cochrane, using predefined search terms. One reviewer conducted the initial search, and the eligibility criteria were applied to the titles and abstracts of the retrieved articles. The selected articles were then evaluated based on the research objectives to ensure relevance to the study's aims.

RESULTS: The study findings indicate that cirrhotic patients are more susceptible to infections, resulting in higher mortality rates ranging from 18% to 60%. Early identification of the infection source followed by timely administration of antibiotics, vasopressors, and corticosteroids has been shown to improve patient outcomes. Procalcitonin is a useful biomarker for diagnosing infections in cirrhotic patients. Moreover, presepsin and resistin have been found to be reliable markers of bacterial infection in patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis, with similar diagnostic performance compared to procalcitonin.

CONCLUSION: This review highlights the importance of early detection and management of infections in cirrhosis patients to reduce mortality. Therefore, early detection of infection using procalcitonin test and other biomarker as presepsin and resistin, associated with early management with antibiotics, fluids, vasopressors and low dose corticosteroids might reduce the mortality associated with sepsis in cirrhotic patients.

PMID:37397933 | PMC:PMC10308287 | DOI:10.4254/wjh.v15.i6.850

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