Abstract

Accurate prediction of survival in patients with cirrhosis is crucial, as patients who are unlikely to survive in the short-term need to be oriented to liver transplantation and to novel therapeutic approaches. Patients with acute decompensation of cirrhosis without or with organ dysfunction/failure, the so-called acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF), have a particularly high short-term mortality. Recognizing the specificity of this clinical situation, dedicated classifications and scores have been developed over the last 15 years, including variables (e.g. organ failures and systemic inflammation) not part of the formerly available cirrhosis severity scores, namely Child-Pugh score or MELD. For patients with acute decompensation of cirrhosis, it led to the development of a dedicated score, the Clif-C-AD score, independently validated. For more severe patients, three different scoring systems have been proposed, by European, Asian and North American societies namely Clif-C-ACLF, AARC score and NASCELD-ACLF respectively. These scores have been validated, and are widely used across the world. The differences and similarities between these scores, as well as their validation and limitations are discussed here. Even if these scores and classifications have been a step forward in favouring homogeneity between studies, and in helping making decisions for individual patients, their predictive value for mortality can still be improved as their area under the ROC curve does not exceed .8. Novel scores including biomarkers reflecting the pathophysiology of acute decompensation of cirrhosis might help reach that goal.

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