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Hyperreninemic hypoaldosteronism syndrome, plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 and outcome in critically ill patients with liver cirrhosis

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To investigate the relation between the adrenal production of gluco- and mineralocorticoids, the inflammatory status and the outcome in critically ill patients with liver cirrhosis.


Prospective descriptive study.


Medical intensive care unit (ICU) in a university hospital.


Fifty consecutive patients with liver cirrhosis.


A corticotropin stimulation test within 12 h following ICU admission. Plasma cortisol concentration was measured before and after the test. Renin and aldosterone concentrations, as well as interleukin-6 (IL-6) level to assess the pro-inflammatory status, were measured only before the test. Impaired adrenal function was defined as cortisol response to the test less than 9 μg/dl. Hyperreninemic hypoaldosteronism syndrome was defined as basal renin over aldosterone ratio (RRA) higher than 2.

Measurements and results

Forty-one (82%) patients had impaired adrenal function, and 26 patients (52%) presented with RRA > 2. Patients with RRA > 2 exhibited greater disease severity and organ dysfunction scores at baseline, higher levels of serum renin and IL-6, and a greater ICU mortality rate, but risk-adjusted mortality rates were not different between the two groups. Renin and IL-6 plasma concentrations were positively correlated. Finally, in a Cox regression analysis, independent predictors of 30-day mortality were hyperreninemic hypoaldosteronism syndrome, IL-6 higher than 400 pg/ml and severe renal failure.


Adrenal dysfunction was common in critically ill cirrhotic patients. Hyperreninemic hypoaldosteronism syndrome was related to a greater pro-inflammatory status and degree of acute organ failure, and was independently associated with a worse prognosis.

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Correspondence to Damien du Cheyron.

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du Cheyron, D., Bouchet, B., Cauquelin, B. et al. Hyperreninemic hypoaldosteronism syndrome, plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 and outcome in critically ill patients with liver cirrhosis. Intensive Care Med 34, 116–124 (2008).

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