Beta-blockers in cirrhosis and refractory ascites: a retrospective cohort study and review of the literature

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Abstract Objective. It is currently discussed if beta-blockers exert harmful effects and increase mortality in patients with cirrhosis and refractory ascites. In this study, we provide an overview of the available literature in this field in combination with a retrospective analysis of 61 patients with cirrhosis and refractory ascites in a tertiary unit. Material and methods. We performed a systematic search of literature in May 2014. In addition, 61 patients with cirrhosis and ascites were identified and followed from development of refractory ascites until death or end of follow-up. Results. Fourteen trials (9 trials on propranolol, 1 case-control study and 4 retrospective analyses) were identified. One trial suggested an increased mortality in patients treated with beta-blockers and refractory ascites. The results of the remaining trials were inconclusive. No increase in mortality among beta-blocker-treated patients was found in the present retrospective analysis. Conclusions. Treatment with beta-blockers may increase mortality in patients with cirrhosis and refractory ascites. However, the current evidence is sparse and high-quality studies are warranted to clarify the matter.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume50
Pages (from-to)129-139
ISSN0036-5521
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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