Cirrhotic patients on proton pump inhibitors are at a twofold risk of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis independently of gastrointestinal bleeding: a population-based retrospective study

Authors Antoine Boustany, Romy Rahhal, Somtochukwu Onwuzo, Ashraf Almomani, Tara Boustany, Prabhat Kumar, Asif Hitawal, Imad Asaada.


Background Recent findings suggest that cirrhotic patients on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are at a higher risk for developing spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) than non-PPI users. We aimed to identify whether PPI use is an independent risk factor for the development of SBP among cirrhotic patients in the United States (US).

Methods We enrolled a retrospective cohort using a validated multicenter database. Patients with a SNOMED-CT diagnosis of “cirrhosis” between 1999 and 2022 were identified. All patients below 18 years of age were excluded. We calculated the prevalence of individuals using PPIs in the total US population and in cirrhotic patients from 1999 to date, and the incidence of SBP in the past year. Finally, we constructed a multivariate regression model, controlling for multiple covariates.

Results The final analysis included 377,420 patients. The 20-year-period prevalence of SBP in patients with cirrhosis was 3.54% and the prevalence of patients using PPIs in the US population was 12,000 per 100,000 people (12.00%). The 1-year incidence of SBP in cirrhotic patients using PPIs was 2500 per 100,000 people. After accounting for confounders, the risk of SBP was higher among males, patients with a diagnosis of gastrointestinal bleeding, and those using β-blockers and PPIs.

Conclusions To date, this is the largest cohort used to examine the prevalence of SBP among cirrhotic patients in the US. PPI use and hepatic encephalopathy offered the highest risk for the development of SBP, independently of gastrointestinal bleeding. Focusing on judicious PPI use should be encouraged among cirrhotic patients.

Keywords Cirrhosis, gastrointestinal bleeding, proton pump inhibitor, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis

Ann Gastroenterol 2023; 36 (3): 327-332

Original Articles