Background Functional and structural liver abnormalities may be found in patients with advanced heart failure (HF). The Model of End-Stage Liver Disease Excluding INR (MELD-XI) score allows functional risk stratification of HF patients on and off anti-coagulation awaiting heart transplantation (HTx), but these scores may improve or worsen depending on bridging therapies and during time on the waiting list. Liver biopsy is sometimes performed to assess for severity of fibrosis. Uncertainty remains whether biopsy in addition to MELD-XI improves prediction of adverse outcomes in patients evaluated for HTx. Methods Sixty-eight patients suspected of advanced liver disease underwent liver biopsy as part of their HTx evaluation. A liver risk score (fibrosis-on-biopsy + 1) × MELD-XI was generated for each patient. Results Fifty-two patients were listed, of whom 14 had mechanical circulatory support (MCS). Thirty-six patients underwent transplantation and 27 patients survived 1 year post-HTx (74%, as compared with 88% average 1-year survival in HTx patients without suspected liver disease; p < 0.01). Survivors had a lower liver risk score at evaluation for HTx (31.0 ± 20.4 vs 65.2 ± 28.6, p < 0.01). A cut-point of 45 for liver risk score was identified by receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) analysis. In the analysis using Cox proportional hazards models, a liver risk score 45 at evaluation for HTx was associated with greater risk of death at 1 year post-HTx compared with a score of <45 in both univariable (HR 3.94, 95% CI 1.77-8.79, p < 0.001) and multivariable (HR 4.35, 95% CI 1.77-8.79, p < 0.001) analyses. Patients who died <1 year post-HTx had an increased frequency of acute graft dysfunction (44.4% vs 3.7%, p = 0.009), longer ventilation times (55.6% vs 11.1%, p = 0.013) and severe bleeding events (44.4% vs 11.1%, p = 0.049). The liver risk score at evaluation for HTx also predicted 1-year mortality after HTx listing (p < 0.001). Conclusions Patients with HF and advanced liver dysfunction are high-risk HTx candidates. Liver biopsy in addition to MELD-XI improves risk stratification of patients with advanced HF and suspected irreversible liver dysfunction.
- congestive hepatopathy
- heart failure
- liver disease
- risk stratification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine