Early Diagnosis and Prevention of Infections in Cirrhosis
Anand V. Kulkarn et al.
Strategies to prevent infection and improve outcomes in patients with cirrhosis. HAV, hepatitis A virus; HBV, hepatitis B virus; COVID-19, novel coronavirus disease 2019; NSBB, nonselective β-blocker; PPI, proton pump inhibitors.
Cirrhosis is a risk factor for infections. Majority of hospital admissions in patients with cirrhosis are due to infections. Sepsis is an immunological response to an infectious process that leads to end-organ dysfunction and death. Preventing infections may avoid the downstream complications, and early diagnosis of infections may improve the outcomes. In this review, we discuss the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and biomarkers of infection; the incremental preventive strategies for infections and sepsi; and the consequent organ failures in cirrhosis. Strategies for primary prevention include reducing gut translocation by selective intestinal decontamination, avoiding unnecessary proton pump inhibitors’ use, appropriate use of β-blockers, and vaccinations for viral diseases including novel coronavirus disease 2019. Secondary prevention includes early diagnosis and a timely and judicious use of antibiotics to prevent organ dysfunction. Organ failure support constitutes tertiary intervention in cirrhosis. In conclusion, infections in cirrhosis are potentially preventable with appropriate care strategies to then enable improved outcomes.