Background: Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is commonly used in patients with cirrhosis. However, some studies demonstrated that PPI use was associated with adverse outcome in patients with cirrhosis. We aimed to perform a meta-analysis of cohort studies to evaluate the association between PPI use and mortality in cirrhotic patients. Methods: Relevant studies were obtained via search of PubMed and Embase databases. A randomized-effect model was used to pool the results. Subgroup analyses were performed to evaluate the source of heterogeneity. Results: Overall, 21 cohort studies with 20,899 patients and 7,457 death events were included. The pooled results with a randomized-effect model showed that PPI use was associated with significantly increased risk of mortality in patients with cirrhosis (adjusted relative risk [RR] = RR: 1.39, p < 0.001) with considerable heterogeneity (I2 = 73%). Subgroup analyses showed that characteristics such as patient ethnicity, sample size, definition of PPI use and complications of patients did not affect the association. However, the association between PPI use and mortality was independent of study characteristics including patient ethnicity, sample size, complications, definition of PPI use, and follow-up duration. However, the association between PPI use and mortality in cirrhotic patients was significant in retrospective studies (RR: 1.40, p < 0.001), but not in prospective studies (RR: 1.34, p = 0.33). Conclusions: PPI use may be associated with moderately increased mortality in cirrhotic patients. Although prospective cohort studies are needed to validate our findings, PPI should only prescribed to cirrhotic patients with indications for the treatment.

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