Indexed on: 26 Sep '17Published on: 26 Sep '17Published in: Internal medicine (Tokyo, Japan)
Objectives Hyponatremia is frequently observed in patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis and it is also related to a poor prognosis. The vasopressin V2-receptor antagonist tolvaptan is used to treat cirrhotic patients with ascites and increases the serum sodium (Na) level. In this study, we investigated (i) whether or not correction of the Na level improves the prognosis of cirrhotic patients with ascites and (ii) predictors of normalization of the serum Na level after tolvaptan therapy. Methods This was a single-center retrospective study. A total of 95 Japanese cirrhotic patients (60 men, median age 63 years) were enrolled and received tolvaptan orally after hospitalization for ascites treatment. The serum Na level was monitored during the period of tolvaptan treatment. The laboratory data and survival rates of patients who achieved serum Na levels of <135 and ≥135 mEq/L after 1 week were compared. Results Patients showed serum Na levels of 136 (121-145) mEq/L, and 42.1% had a serum Na level of <135 mEq/L. Among patients with an initial serum Na level <135 mEq/L, 60.0% achieved a normal level after 1 week, and the survival rate was significantly higher in patients with a normalized serum Na level (p<0.01). The pretreatment brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) level was predictive of achieving a serum Na level of ≥135 mEq/L (odds ratio: 0.87, 95% confidence interval: 0.316-0.987, p<0.05). Conclusion Normalization of the Na level after one week was associated with a favorable outcome of tolvaptan therapy, and Na correction improved the prognosis.