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Goals: To determine the association between functional disability and mortality after transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS).

Background: TIPS is a common therapeutic procedure for cirrhotic patients with refractory ascites. The conventional metric for periprocedure risk stratification is the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), which uses biochemical parameters to predict post-TIPS mortality. It does not account for functional disability.

Study: This is a retrospective cohort study of 83 patients admitted at an academic liver transplant center with cirrhosis and refractory ascites for the purpose of TIPS placement. We assessed the association of patients' reported activities of daily living (ADL) on a scale of 1 to 21 before TIPS with a primary outcome of 1-year mortality. Multivariable regression to adjust for MELD and Child class was performed.

Results: A higher ADL score or functional independence, was associated with decreased 1-year mortality when modeled as both a continuous variable [odds ratio (OR), 0.80; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.66-0.97; P=0.02) and a dichotomous variable (ADL 21 vs. <21; OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.05-0.70; P=0.01). After adjusting for MELD and Child class, functional independence was associated with decreased 1-year transplant-free mortality (OR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.05-0.77; P=0.02). An ADL score consistent with dependence (<21) was significantly associated with a 3.40-day (95% CI, 1.76-5.04) longer hospital stay, adjusting for MELD and Child class (P<0.0001).

Conclusions: Functional disability is a predictor of post-TIPS mortality and length of stay after controlling for MELD.

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