Association of liver cirrhosis severity with anemia: does it matter?
Background The etiology of anemia in liver disease is diverse and often multifactorial. Anemia is more severe in advanced stages of liver cirrhosis and can be a predictor of the severity of liver disease.
Methods In this cross-sectional observational study, we included 181 cirrhotic patients with anemia owing to liver cirrhosis and its complications. The population was divided into 2 groups based on the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score and the severity of anemia was assessed in the 2 groups. Similarly, hemoglobin levels were assessed in 3 groups based on the Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) classification.
Results There was a statistically significant correlation between CTP class and hemoglobin (P<0.001), with the lowest hemoglobin levels in CTP C patients. The correlation coefficient between hemoglobin and MELD score was -0.671 and was statistically significant, establishing that hemoglobin levels decrease with increasing severity of liver cirrhosis. Of 58 patients with macrocytosis, 45 (77.6%) had a MELD score of >12, whereas only 13 patients (22.4%) had a MELD score of <12. This difference was statistically significant (P<0.0001).
Conclusions This study shows that hemoglobin levels decrease with increasing severity of liver disease; thus, this measure can be used in the initial assessment of patients to give a picture of the severity of the disease. A larger prospective trial is needed to establish the use of hemoglobin levels for assessing severity and predicting mortality in patients with liver cirrhosis.
Keywords Anemia, liver cirrhosis, model for end-stage liver disease score, macrocytosis, Child- Turcotte-Pugh class
Ann Gastroenterol 2020; 33 (3): 272-276