INTRODUCTION: Hemorrhage and venous thromboembolism (VTE) are recognized complications of chronic liver disease (CLD), but their prevalence and risk factors in critically ill patients are uncertain.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied a retrospective cohort of patients with CLD nonelectively admitted to a specialist intensive care unit (ICU) determining the prevalence and timing of major bleeding and VTE (early, present on admission/diagnosed within 48 hours; later, diagnosed >48 hours post-ICU admission). Associations with baseline clinical and laboratory characteristics, multiorgan failure (MOF), blood product administration, and mortality were explored. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using logistic regression.
RESULTS: Of 623 patients with median age 52, bleeding (>48 hours after admission) occurred in 87 (14%) patients. Bleeding was associated with greater illness severity and increased mortality. Gastrointestinal bleeding accounted for 72% of events, secondary to portal hypertension in >90%. Procedure-related bleeding was uncommon. VTE occurred in 125 (20%) patients: early VTE in 80 (13%) and involving the portal vein in 85%. Later VTE affected 45 (7.2%) patients. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and nonalcoholic liver disease were independently associated with early VTE (OR: 2.79, 95% CI: 1.5-5.2 and OR: 2.32, 95% CI: 1.4-3.9, respectively), and HCC, sepsis, and cryoprecipitate use with late VTE (OR: 2.45, 95% CI: 1.11-5.43; OR: 2.26, 95% CI: 1.2-4.3; and OR: 2.60, 95% CI: 1.3-5.1).
CONCLUSION: VTE was prevalent on admission to critical care and less commonly developed later. Bleeding was associated with MOF and increased mortality. Severe MOF was not associated with an increased rate of VTE which was linked with HCC, and specific etiologies of CLD.