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Liver-related morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic hepatitis C and cirrhosis with and without sustained virologic response

Authors Hallager S, Ladelund S, Christensen PB, Kjær M, Thorup Roege B, Grønbæk KE, Belard E, Barfod TS, Madsen LG, Gerstoft J, Tarp B, Krarup HB, Weis N

Received 10 January 2017

Accepted for publication 5 July 2017

Published 24 October 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 501—516


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Sofie Hallager,1 Steen Ladelund,2 Peer Brehm Christensen,3 Mette Kjær,4,5 Birgit Thorup Roege,6 Karin Elmegaard Grønbæk,7 Erika Belard,8 Toke S Barfod,9 Lone Galmstrup Madsen,10 Jan Gerstoft,11 Britta Tarp,12 Henrik Bygum Krarup,13 Nina Weis,1,5

1Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, 2Clinical Research Center, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, 3Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Institute, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, 4Department of Hepatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, 5Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 6Department of Internal Medicine, Kolding Hospital, Kolding, 7Department of Gastroenterology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Hvidovre, 8Department of Gastroenterology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, 9Department of Internal Medicine, Zealand University Hospital, Roskilde, 10Department of Gastroenterology, Zealand University Hospital, Køge, 11Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, 12Diagnostic Centre, University Research Clinic for Innovative Patient Pathways, Silkeborg Regional Hospital, Silkeborg, 13Section of Molecular Diagnostics, Clinical Biochemistry and Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark

Background: Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) causes liver cirrhosis in 5%–20% of patients, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to estimate liver-related morbidity and mortality among patients with CHC and cirrhosis in Denmark with and without antiviral treatment and sustained virologic response (SVR). Furthermore we aimed to estimate the rate of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and decompensation associated with certain prognostic factors.
Materials and methods: Patients with CHC and cirrhosis registered in the Danish Database for Hepatitis B and C were eligible. Cirrhosis was based on liver biopsy, transient elastography, and clinical cirrhosis. Data were extracted from nationwide registries. The study period was from 2002 until 2013.
Results: Of 1,038 patients included, 716 (69%) were male and the median age was 52 years. Median follow-up was 3.8 years, 360 patients died, and 233 of 519 treated patients achieved SVR. Alcohol overuse and hepatitis C virus genotype 3 were associated with an increased incidence rate (IR) of HCC, whereas diabetes and alcohol overuse were associated with increased IRs of decompensation. Achieving SVR reduced all-cause mortality (adjusted mortality rate ratio 0.68 [95% CI 0.43–1.09]) and liver-related mortality (mortality rate ratio 0.6 [95% CI 0.36–1]), as well as liver-related morbidity with adjusted IR ratios of 0.37 (95% CI 0.22–0.62) for HCC and 0.31 (95% CI 0.17–0.57) for decompensation. The IRs of HCC and decompensation remained elevated in patients with alcohol overuse after SVR.
Conclusion: Alcohol overuse, hepatitis C genotype 3, and diabetes were associated with liver-related morbidity in patients with CHC and cirrhosis. SVR markedly reduced liver-related morbidity and mortality; however, special attention to patients with alcohol overuse should continue after SVR.

Keywords: chronic hepatitis C, cirrhosis, liver-related morbidity, cohort study, sustained virologic response

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