Differences in mortality between critically ill patients with severe alcohol-associated hepatitis (sAH) and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) and non-sAH ACLF (i.e., ACLF not precipitated by sAH) are unknown. Such differences are important, as they may inform on prognosis and optimal timing of liver transplantation (LT). Thus, we aimed to compare short-term and longer-term mortality between patients with sAH ACLF and patients with non-sAH ACLF who were admitted to the intensive care unit. Patients with ACLF admitted from 2016-2018 at two tertiary care intensive care units were analyzed. SAH was defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Alcoholic Hepatitis Consortium and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score >20. Mortality without LT was compared between sAH ACLF and non-sAH ACLF using Fine and Gray’s competing-risks regression. A total of 463 patients with ACLF (18% sAH and 82% non-sAH) were included. Compared to patients with non-sAH ACLF, patients with sAH ACLF were younger (49 vs. 56 years; P < 0.001) and had higher admission Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) (35 vs. 25; P < 0.001) and Chronic Liver Failure Consortium (CLIF-C) scores (61 vs. 57; P = 0.002). There were no significant differences between the two groups for vasopressor, mechanical ventilation, and hemodialysis use. The cumulative incidence of death was significantly higher in patients with sAH ACLF compared to patients with non-sAH ACLF: 30-day 74.7% versus 45.3%; 90-day 81.9% versus 57.4%; 180-day 83.2% versus 63.0% (unadjusted subdistribution hazard ratio [sHR] 1.88 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.44-2.46]; P < 0.001). After adjusting for CLIF-C score and infection in a multivariable competing-risk model, patients with sAH ACLF had significantly higher risk of death (sHR 1.57 [95% CI 1.20-2.06]; P = 0.001) compared to patients with non-sAH ACLF. Conclusion: Critically ill patients with sAH ACLF have worse mortality compared to patients with non-sAH ACLF. These data may inform prognosis in patients with sAH and ACLF, and early LT referral in potentially eligible patients.
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