Early mechanical ventilation for grade IV hepatic encephalopathy is associated with increased mortality among patients with cirrhosis: an exploratory study

Saad Saffo*, Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Unresponsive patients with toxic-metabolic encephalopathies often undergo endotracheal intubation for the primary purpose of preventing aspiration events. However, among patients with pre-existing systemic comorbidities, mechanical ventilation itself may be associated with numerous risks such as hypotension, aspiration, delirium, and infection. Our primary aim was to determine whether early mechanical ventilation for airway protection was associated with increased mortality in patients with cirrhosis and grade IV hepatic encephalopathy. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample was queried for hospital stays due to grade IV hepatic encephalopathy among patients with cirrhosis between 2016 and 2019. After applying our exclusion criteria, including cardiopulmonary failure, data from 1,975 inpatient stays were analyzed. Patients who received mechanical ventilation within 2 days of admission were compared to those who did not. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify clinical factors associated with in-hospital mortality. Results: Of 162 patients who received endotracheal intubation during the first 2 hospital days, 64 (40%) died during their hospitalization, in comparison to 336 (19%) of 1,813 patients in the comparator group. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, mechanical ventilation was the strongest predictor of in-hospital mortality in our primary analysis (adjusted odds ratio, 3.00; 95% confidence interval, 2.14–4.20; P<0.001) and in all sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: Mechanical ventilation for the sole purpose of airway protection among patients with cirrhosis and grade IV hepatic encephalopathy may be associated with increased in-hospital mortality. Future studies are necessary to confirm and further characterize our findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-362
Number of pages8
JournalAcute and Critical Care
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • hepatic encephalopathy
  • liver cirrhosis
  • mechanical ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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