Author(s): Bauer TM, Schwacha H, Steinbrckner B, Brinkmann FE, Ditzen AK,
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Systemic endotoxemia has been implicated in various pathophysiological sequelae of chronic liver disease. One of its potential causes is increased intestinal absorption of endotoxin. We therefore examined the association of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth with systemic endotoxemia in patients with cirrhosis. METHODS: Fifty-three consecutive patients with cirrhosis (Child-Pugh group A, 23; group B, 18; group C, 12) were included. Jejunal secretions were cultivated quantitatively and systemic endotoxemia determined by the chromogenic Limulus amoebocyte assay. Patients were followed up for 1 yr. RESULTS: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, defined as > or = 10(5) total colony forming units per milliliter of jejunal secretions, was present in 59\% of patients and strongly associated with acid suppressive therapy. The mean plasma endotoxin level was 0.86 +/- 0.48 endotoxin units/ml (range = 0.03-1.44) and was significantly associated with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (0.99 vs 0.60 endotoxin units/ml, p = 0.03). During the 1-yr follow-up, seven patients were lost to follow up or underwent liver transplantation and 12 patients died. Multivariate Cox regression showed Child-Pugh group to be the only predictor for survival. CONCLUSIONS: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in cirrhotic patients is common and associated with systemic endotoxemia. The clinical relevance of this association remains to be defined.
This article was published in Am J Gastroenterol
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System