From the Journals

Three factors predict 6-month mortality in patients with DILI



Medical comorbidity burden is significantly associated with 6-month and overall mortality in individuals with suspected drug-induced liver injury (DILI). In addition, a model consisting of Charlson Comorbidity Index, model for end-stage liver disease score, and serum albumin strongly predicts 6-month mortality in patients with suspected DILI.

Those are key findings from a study which set out to investigate the association between comorbidity burden and outcomes of patients with DILI and to develop a model to calculate risk of death within 6 months.

“Drug-induced liver injury is an important cause of liver-related morbidity and mortality that is likely under-recognized,” investigators led by Marwan S. Ghabril, MD, of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Indiana University, Indianapolis, wrote in a study published in Gastroenterology. “Its diagnosis depends on high index of suspicion, compatible temporal relationship, and thorough exclusion of competing etiologies. DILI by an implicated drug commonly occurs in patients with one or several comorbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, and malignancy. However, the impact of comorbidity burden on mortality in patients with suspected DILI has not been previously investigated.”

For the current analysis and model development, the researchers drew from 306 patients enrolled in the multicenter Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network Prospective Study at Indiana University between 2003 and 2017 (discovery cohort; Drug Saf. 2009;32:55-68). To validate their model, they used data from 247 patients who were enrolled in the same study at the University of North Carolina (validation cohort). The primary outcome of interest was mortality within 6 months of onset of liver injury.

The mean ages of the discovery and validation cohorts were 49 years and 51 years, respectively. Dr. Ghabril and colleagues found that 6-month mortality was 8.5% in the discovery cohort and 4.5% in the validation cohort. “The most common class of implicated agent was antimicrobials with no significant differences between groups,” they wrote. “However, herbal and dietary supplements were predominantly implicated in patients with none to mild comorbidity, while cardiovascular agents were predominantly implicated in patients with significant comorbidity.”

Among patients in the discovery cohort, the presence of significant comorbidities, defined as a Charlson Comorbidity Index score greater than 2, was independently associated with 6-month mortality (odds ratio, 5.22), as was model for end-stage liver disease score (OR, 1.11) and serum level of albumin at presentation (OR, 0.39). When the researchers created a morbidity risk model based on those three clinical variables, it performed well, identifying patients who died within 6 months with a C statistic value of 0.89 in the discovery cohort and 0.91 in the validation cohort. This spurred the development of a web-based risk calculator, which clinicians can access at

“Since DILI is not a unique cause of liver injury, it is conceivable that models incorporating comorbidity burden and severity of liver injury could prove useful in improving the prediction of mortality in a variety of liver injuries and diseases, and as such warrants further studies,” the researchers wrote.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dr. Ghabril reported having no financial disclosures, but two coauthors reported having numerous financial ties to industry.

SOURCE: Ghabril M et al. Gastroenterology. 2019 Jul 11. doi: 10/1053/j.gastro.2019.07.006.

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