Monday, January 22, 2007


Bacterial Infections in Cirrhosis

Bacterial Infections in Cirrhosis

1: Can J Gastroenterol. 2004 Jun;18(6):405-6.

Garcia-Tsao G.
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8019, USA.
Hospitalized patients with cirrhosis are at increased risk of developing bacterial infections, the most common being spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) and urinary tract infections. Independent predictors of the development of bacterial infections in hospitalized cirrhotic patients are poor liver synthetic function and admission for gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Short term (seven-day) prophylaxis with norfloxacin reduces the rate of infections and improves survival and should therefore be administered to all patients with cirrhosis and variceal hemorrhage. Cirrhotic patients who develop abdominal pain, tenderness, fever, renal failure or hepatic encephalopathy should undergo diagnostic paracentesis, and those who meet the criterion for SBP (eg, an ascites neutrophil count greater than 250/mm3) should receive antibiotics, preferably a third-generation cephalosporin. In addition to antibiotic therapy, albumin infusions have been shown to reduce the risk of renal failure and mortality in patients with SBP, particularly in those with renal dysfunction and hyperbilirubinemia at the time of diagnosis. Patients who recover from an episode of SBP should be given long term prophylaxis with norfloxacin and should be assessed for liver transplantation.

PMID: 15190398 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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Prevention and treatment of infections in patients with cirrhosis.
Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2007;21(1):77-93

Ghassemi S,
Garcia-Tsao G.
Division of Digestive Diseases, Yale University School of Medicine, VA CT Healthcare System, 333 Cedar St - 1080 LMP, P.O. Box 208019, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Patients with cirrhosis have altered immune defenses and are considered immunocompromised individuals. Changes in gut motility, mucosal defense and microflora allow for translocation of enteric bacteria into mesenteric lymph nodes and the blood stream. Additionally, the cirrhotic liver is ineffective at clearing bacteria and associated endotoxins from the blood thus allowing for seeding of the sterile peritoneal fluid. Thus, hospitalised cirrhotic patients, particularly those with gastrointestinal hemorrhage, are at high risk of developing bacterial infections, the most common being spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Given the significant morbidity and mortality associated with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and the fact that half of the cases are community acquired, all hospitalised cirrhotic patients should have a diagnostic paracentesis to exclude infection. Those admitted with gastrointestinal bleed and a negative paracentesis require short-term prophylaxis with norfloxacin. A third generation cephalosporin is the treatment of choice for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and, once the acute infection is resolved, secondary prophylaxis with oral norfloxacin is warranted. Patients who develop renal dysfunction at the time of active infection have the highest mortality and require adjunctive albumin therapy. This article reviews the pathogenesis of SBP, the evidence behind the antibiotics used, the rationale for adjunctive albumin therapy in the setting of acute renal failure, and the role of prophylactic antibiotics in specific high-risk populations.

PMID: 17223498 [PubMed - in process]
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Norfloxacin and cisapride combination decreases the incidence of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in cirrhotic ascites.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Apr;20(4):599-605.

Sandhu BS,
Gupta R,
Sharma J,
Singh J,
Murthy NS,
Sarin SK.
Department of Gastroenterology, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India.
Dr Shiv K Sarin, Department of Gastroenterology, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India. Email:

BACKGROUND: Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) is a serious complication of cirrhosis with ascites, having high recurrence despite antibiotic prophylaxis. Small bowel dysmotility and bacterial overgrowth have been documented to be related to SBP. The purpose of the present paper was (i) to study whether addition of a prokinetic agent to norfloxacin ameliorates the development of SBP in high-risk patients; and (ii) to identify risk factors for SBP development.

METHODS: A prospective, single blinded, randomized controlled trial was conducted in high-risk cirrhotic patients with ascites who had either recovered from an episode of SBP or who had low ascitic fluid protein. Norfloxacin 400 mg once daily (group I) or norfloxacin 400 mg once daily with cisapride 20 mg twice a day (group II) was given and occurrence of side-effects of therapy and mortality were recorded.

RESULTS: Of the 94 patients, 48 (51%) were in group I, and 46 (49%) in group II. The actuarial probability of developing SBP at 12 month in group I was 56.8% and in group II, 21.7% (P = 0.026). Treatment failure was observed in five patients (10%) in group I and none in group II (P = 0.003). The actuarial probability of death at 18 months was 20.6% in group I and 6.2% in group II (P = 0.1). Low serum albumin, low ascitic fluid protein and alcoholic cirrhosis were related to development of SBP (P <>

CONCLUSIONS: Prophylaxis with norfloxacin and cisapride significantly reduces the incidence of SBP in high-risk cirrhosis patients; low serum albumin, low ascitic fluid protein and alcoholic cirrhosis predispose to the development of SBP in high-risk cirrhosis patients; and low ascitic fluid protein should also be considered as a risk factor for the development of SBP requiring prophylaxis.

Key Words: Ascites, Cirrhosis, Cisapride, Norfloxacin, Prokinetics, SBP, Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis


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