Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening disease. We evaluated the prognostic utility of Model for End-stage Liver Disease excluding INR (MELD-XI) score for predicting mortality in a cohort of critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation. Methods: In total, 11,091 mechanically ventilated patients were included in our post-hoc retrospective analysis, a subgroup of the VENTILA study (NCT02731898). Evaluation of associations with mortality was done by logistic and Cox regression analysis, an optimal cut-off was calculated using the Youden Index. We divided the cohort in two sub-groups based on their MELD-XI score at the optimal cut-off (12 score points). Results: Peak-, plateau- and positive end-expiratory pressure were higher in patients with MELD-XI>12. Patients with MELD-XI>12 had higher driving pressures (14 ± 6 cmH2O versus 13 ± 6; p < 0.001). MELD-XI was associated with 28-day mortality after correction for relevant cofounders including SAPS II and ventilation pressures (HR 1.04 95%CI 1.03–1.05; p < 0.001. Patients with MELD-XI>12 evidenced both increased hospital (46% versus 27%; p < 0.001) and 28-day mortality (39% versus 22%). Conclusions: MELD-XI is independently associated with mortality and constitutes a useful and easily applicable tool for risk stratification in critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation. Trial registration: NCT02731898, registered 4 April 2016.
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