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INTRODUCTION: The efficacy of targeted albumin therapy in the management of decompensatory events in cirrhosis is unclear, with different reports showing conflicting results. It is possible that only certain subgroups of patients may benefit from targeted albumin administration. However, extensive conventional subgroup analyses have not yet identified these subgroups. Albumin is an important regulator of physiological networks and may interact with homeostatic mechanism differently in patients according to the integrity of their physiological network. In this study, we aimed to assess the value of network mapping in predicting response to targeted albumin therapy in patients with cirrhosis.

METHODS: This is a substudy of the ATTIRE trial, a multicenter randomized trial conducted to assess the effect of targeted albumin therapy in cirrhosis. Baseline serum bilirubin, albumin, sodium, creatinine, CRP, white cell count (WCC), international normalized ratio, heart rate, and blood pressure of 777 patients followed up for 6 months were used for network mapping using parenclitic analysis. Parenclitic network analysis involves measuring the deviation of each patient from the existing network of physiological interactions in a reference population.

RESULTS: Overall network connectivity and deviations along the WCC-CRP axis predicted 6-month survival independent of age and model for end-stage liver disease in the standard care arm. Patients with lower deviation along the WCC-CRP axis showed lower survival in response to targeted albumin administration over a 6-month follow-up period. Likewise, patients with higher overall physiological connectivity survived significantly less than the standard care group after targeted albumin infusion.

DISCUSSION: The parenclitic network mapping can predict the survival of patients with cirrhosis and identify patient subgroups that do not benefit from targeted albumin therapy.

(C) 2023 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American College of Gastroenterology