Zachary Fricker, Gordon Jiang, Het Patel, Annabel McLaughlin, Sofia Izunza Barba, Sebastian Niezen, Michael Curry

A randomized study of ceftriaxone for the prevention of infections in hospitalized patients with advanced cirrhosis

  • Hepatology

Background: Infections frequently complicate hospital admission among patients with cirrhosis and are associated with adverse outcomes. In specific settings, administration of prophylactic antibiotics has been shown to improve outcomes. In this pilot study, we aimed to assess the feasibility of a randomized study of whether prophylactic ceftriaxone (CTX), administered to hospitalized patients with advanced cirrhosis (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-Sodium ≥ 18) without known infection, could reduce the incidence of infection. We also sought to determine whether we could identify patients most likely to benefit through the use of clinical and laboratory parameters. Methods: Hospitalized patients with cirrhosis, with Model for End-Stage Liver Disease-Sodium ≥ 18 and no known infection after evaluation, were randomly assigned in a double-blinded fashion to receive either CTX 1 gr/day or placebo for up to 7 days. Subjects were monitored for incident infection and other outcomes of interest, including adverse reactions such as the development of C. difficile infection. Biomarkers of interest, including C-reactive protein and procalcitonin, were measured before initiation of treatment. Results: Thirty subjects were enrolled and received CTX or placebo (15 subjects each) per protocol. There were no observed statistically significant differences between groups in incidence of infection, mortality, length of stay, or key laboratory parameters, including C-reactive protein and procalcitonin. Adverse events related to treatment were rare and clinically of minor significance. Conclusions: Overall, enrollment of subjects proved feasible, and results from this pilot study, while inadequate for confirmation of the potential efficacy of CTX, provide evidence of study feasibility for future, more definitive clinical trials.

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