Frailty is common in patients with cirrhosis and increases the vulnerability to internal and external stressors. This study aimed to investigate the impact of frailty, as defined by the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS), on the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) and hepatorenal syndrome (HRS-AKI) in hospitalized patients with liver cirrhosis.
We analyzed data of 201 non-electively hospitalized patients with cirrhosis and without higher-grade chronic kidney disease. Patient characteristics were captured within the first 24 hours of hospital admission and frailty was assessed using the CFS. Patients were followed for the development of AKI and/or HRS-AKI during the hospital stay.
In the total cohort, median CFS was 3 (Interquartile Range (IQR) 3; 4), and 34 (16.9%) patients were frail (CFS >4). During the hospital stay, 110 (54.7%) and 49 (24.3%) patients developed AKI or HRS-AKI, respectively. Patients who suffered from AKI or HRS-AKI had a significantly higher CFS than patients without kidney injury (P < 0.001 each). In multivariable analyses, a higher CFS was independently associated with the development of AKI (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.467, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.065-2.021) in the total cohort and HRS-AKI (OR 1.809, 95% CI 1.263-2.591) in the sub cohort of patients with a history of ascites. Additionally, there was a strong association between frailty (OR 3.717, 95% CI 1.456-9.491) and HRS-AKI.
Frailty in patients with cirrhosis is associated with AKI and HRS-AKI. In this context, CFS appears to be a reliable tool to identify patients at high risk for developing AKI or HRS-AKI on hospital admission.