||Although radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is considered a curative treatment for early stage small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the long-term prognosis is suboptimal. The major complications in cirrhotic patients are usually related to poor prognosis and include esophageal variceal bleeding, ascites, and hepatic encephalopathy. This study aimed to evaluate the role of liver reserve on mortality after RFA for early stage HCC among cirrhotic patients, according to the presence of the number of complications. The Taiwan National Health Insurance Database was used to identify 2389 cirrhotic patients with treatment-naïve HCC (<3 cm) undergoing RFA hospitalized between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2013. Of these, 594 patients had concurrent or a history of cirrhotic-related complications. The 1-year and 3-year survival rates in the cirrhotic patients with complications were 78.5% and 39.8%, respectively, and those in the patients without complications were 92.7% and 65.9% (P < .001), respectively. Age (hazard ratio [HR] 1.03, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-1.04, P < .001) and cirrhotic-related complications (HR 2.65, 95% CI 2.22-3.16, P < .001) significantly increased 3-year mortality. The HR of mortality in patients with 1, 2, or 3 complications compared to those without complications were 2.35 (95% CI 1.92-2.88), 3.27 (95% CI 2.48-4.30), and 4.63 (95% CI 2.82-7.62), respectively (all P < .001). In cirrhotic patients with early stage HCC undergoing RFA, poor liver reserve correlates with poor outcome. The presence or history of three cirrhotic-related complications increased 3-year mortality 4-fold.