Evangelos Cholongitas, Ioannis Goulis, Eirini Pagkalidou, Anna B. Haidich, Apostolos K.A. Karagiannis, Theodora Nakouti, Chrysoula Pipili, Theodora Oikonomou, Spyros Gerou, Evangelos Akriviadis
Background. The clinical impact of relative adrenal insufficiency (AI) on patients with stable decompensated cirrhosis (DeCi) has not been yet elucidated. Aim. Explore the association between AI and outcome [death or liver transplantation (LT)] in patients with DeCi. Material and methods. Patients with DeCi presenting no active complication have been included. Clinical and laboratory data, including serum levels of corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG), interleukin (IL)-1b, IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) were recorded in each participant. Salivary cortisol (SC) and serum total cortisol (STC) were assessed at (T0) and 1 h (T60) after intravenous injection of 250 μg corticotropin. Results. 113 consecutive patients were totally tested. Median SC was 3.9 ng/mL and 15.5 ng/mL and median STC was 10.7 μg/dL and 22.7 μg/dL at T0 and T60 respectively. The patients with AI [group 1, n = 34 (30%)] had significantly lower systolic blood pressure (106 ± 12 vs. 113 ± 13 mmHg, p = 0.05), serum sodium (133 ± 7 vs. 137 ± 12 mEq/L, p = 0.04), HDL (29.9 ± 14 vs. 38.6 ± 18 mg/dL, p = 0.034) and albumin (2.7 ± 0.5 vs. 3.1 ± 0.5 g/dL, p = 0.002), but higher direct bilirubin (median: 1.6 vs. 0.8 mg/dL, p = 0.029) compared to those without AI [group 2, n = 79 (70%)]. Moreover, group 1 patients presented more frequently past history of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) [10/34 (29.4%) vs. 6/79 (7.5%), p = 0.002]. AI was significantly associated with death [HR = 2.65, 95% C.I.: 1.55 - 4.52, p = 0.003 over a follow up period of 12 (6-48) months.] Conclusions. The presence of AI in patients with stable DeCi predispose to obvious clinical implications since it is associated with circulatory dysfunction, previous history of SBP and worse survival.
Key words. Total cortisol., Salivary cortisol., Liver., Survival., MELD score., Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.