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News

Hep C mortality rates are greater than expected

August's issue of Gut investigates excess mortality rates in a cohort of patients infected with the Hepatitis C virus.

News image

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Dr Keith Neal and colleagues from the United Kingdom analyzed the Trent Hepatitis C cohort to determine standardized mortality ratios in patients infected with Hepatitis C virus.

The team of doctors identified risk factors and associations with all-cause and liver-related mortality.

The team assessed 2285 patients with Hepatitis C virus infection attending secondary care within the Trent region of England, followed for 1 year or more.

Hep C death rates is 3 times higher than expected
Gut

The team compared the death rate in the cohort to that seen in an age- and sex-matched English population.

The team performed Cox regression analyses to identify factors predictive of all-cause mortality and deaths from liver disease.

The doctors found standardized mortality ratios in the cohort were 3 times higher than those expected in the general population of England.

The excess deaths were due to liver-related causes and those associated with a drug-using lifestyle.

Significant independent predictors of all-cause mortality were age, sex, treatment and liver biopsy fibrosis.

The team found age, treatment, liver biopsy fibrosis and mean alcohol consumption were predictors of liver-related mortality.

Hepatitis C virus was mentioned on 23% of death certificates overall, and on 52% of those of patients dying from a liver-related cause.

Dr Neal's team concluded, "Our findings demonstrate that the death rate in patients infected with Hepatitis C is 3 times higher than expected."

"Severity of disease is associated with a worse prognosis, whilst treatment improves outcome, particularly in those who respond."

"Use of death certificate data on Hepatitis C virus infection for planning purposes will result in considerable under-estimation of the Hepatitis C virus-related disease burden."

Gut 2007: 56(8):1098-104
13 July 2007

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