Alcohol-associated hepatitis (AAH) is a severe form of liver injury with mortality as high as 30%-40% at 90 days. As a result of altered immune function in AAH, bacterial infections are common and are associated with poor outcomes. However, determining the risk and subsequent development of infection in patients with AAH remain challenging. We performed a retrospective study of consecutive patients admitted with a diagnosis of AAH at two independent tertiary centers from 1998 to 2018 (test cohort, n = 286) who developed infections following hospitalization. The diagnosis of AAH was confirmed by manual chart review according to the recent National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism definition. Infections were categorized by location and time of diagnosis as hospital-acquired infection (48 hours after admission until discharge) and posthospital infections (up to 6 months following discharge). The cohort was 66% men, and the median age was 48 (21-83) years. Corticosteroids were used in 32% of all patients with AAH. The overall infection rate was 24%. Of those with infections, 46% were hospital acquired and 54% were acquired after hospitalization. Variables found to be significant risk factors for bacterial infection included the presence of ascites on admission (hazard ratio [HR], 2.06), corticosteroid administration (HR, 1.70), Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) >23 (HR, 2.61), and white blood cell (WBC) count on admission per point (HR, 1.02). Conclusion: In this multicenter cohort study of patients hospitalized with AAH, MELD score, ascites, WBC count, and use of corticosteroids were identified as significant predictors of the development of bacterial infection. We created a novel predictive equation that may be used to aid in the identification of patients with AAH at high risk of infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas