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Blood culture-positive infections in patients with alcoholic hepatitis.

Acute alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is a life-threatening disease and its course is often determined by infections. However, the pattern of pathogens has not been studied. We examined the microbiological pathogens that caused blood-borne infection in patients with AH. We included 32 AH patients without infection at inclusion. Patients were followed for 1 month and their infection status was recorded based on clinical records, radiologic exams and cultures of different secreta. Nine patients (28%) developed blood culture-positive infections. The agents were of heterogeneous aetiology and came from various sites of infection. Candida species accounted for three of these infections (33%). Five patients (16%) died, two of which had positive blood cultures. A high fraction was invasively infected by a heterogeneous spectrum of microbes including yeasts and commensal bacteria. This may reflect the severe immune impairment of AH and suggests thorough infection screening and an immediate broad-spectrum antibiotic approach if infection is suspected.

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