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Hypoxic hepatitis: underlying conditions and risk factors for mortality in critically ill patients



Hypoxic hepatitis (HH) is a frequent cause of acute hepatocellular damage at the intensive care unit. Although mortality is reported to be high, risk factors for mortality in this population are unknown.


One-hundred and seventeen consecutive patients with HH were studied prospectively at three medical intensive care units of a university hospital.


The main causes of hypoxic hepatitis were low cardiac output and septic shock, and most patients (74%) had more than one underlying factor. Peak aspartate transaminase (P = 0.02), lactate dehydrogenase (P = 0.03), INR (P < 0.001) and lactate (P < 0.01) were higher in non-survivors. Prolonged duration of HH caused higher overall mortality rate (P = 0.03). INR > 2 (P = 0.02), septic shock (P = 0.01) and SOFA score >10 (P = 0.04) were risk factors of mortality in the regression model.


Hypoxic hepatitis is the consequence of multiorgan injury. Outcome is influenced by the severity of liver impairment and the etiology and severity of the basic disease.

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Hypoxic hepatitis


Intensive care unit


Serum aspartate transaminase level


Serum alanine transaminase level


Lactate dehydrogenase level


International normalized ratio


Simplified acute physiology score


Sequential organ failure assessment


Interquartile range


Confidence interval


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Correspondence to Valentin Fuhrmann.

Additional information

The study was performed at the intensive care units 13H1, 13H3 and 13I2 of the Medical University of Vienna.

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Fuhrmann, V., Kneidinger, N., Herkner, H. et al. Hypoxic hepatitis: underlying conditions and risk factors for mortality in critically ill patients. Intensive Care Med 35, 1397–1405 (2009).

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  • Ischemic hepatitis
  • Shock liver
  • Risk factors
  • Hypoglycemia