Mortality rates among patients successfully treated for hepatitis C in the era of interferon-free antivirals: population based cohort study

Victoria Hamill, Stanley Wong, Jennifer Benselin, Mel Krajden, Peter C. Hayes, David Mutimer, Amanda Yu, John F. Dillon, William Gelson, Hector A. Velásquez García, Alan Yeung, Philip Johnson, Stephen T. Barclay, Maria Alvarez, Hidenori Toyoda, Kosh Agarwal, Andrew Fraser, Sofia Bartlett, Mark Aldersley, Andy BathgateMawuena Binka, Paul Richardson, Joanne R. Morling, Stephen D. Ryder, Douglas MacDonald, Sharon Hutchinson, Eleanor Barnes, Indra Neil Guha, William L. Irving, Naveed Z. Janjua, Hamish Innes*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To quantify mortality rates for patients successfully treated for hepatitis C in the era of interferon-free, direct acting antivirals and compare these rates with those of the general population. DESIGN: Population based cohort study. SETTING: British Columbia, Scotland, and England (England cohort consists of patients with cirrhosis only). PARTICIPANTS: 21 790 people who were successfully treated for hepatitis C in the era of interferon-free antivirals (2014-19). Participants were divided into three liver disease severity groups: people without cirrhosis (pre-cirrhosis), those with compensated cirrhosis, and those with end stage liver disease. Follow-up started 12 weeks after antiviral treatment completion and ended on date of death or 31 December 2019. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Crude and age-sex standardised mortality rates, and standardised mortality ratio comparing the number of deaths with that of the general population, adjusting for age, sex, and year. Poisson regression was used to identify factors associated with all cause mortality rates. RESULTS: 1572 (7%) participants died during follow-up. The leading causes of death were drug related mortality (n=383, 24%), liver failure (n=286, 18%), and liver cancer (n=250, 16%). Crude all cause mortality rates (deaths per 1000 person years) were 31.4 (95% confidence interval 29.3 to 33.7), 22.7 (20.7 to 25.0), and 39.6 (35.4 to 44.3) for cohorts from British Columbia, Scotland, and England, respectively. All cause mortality was considerably higher than the rate for the general population across all disease severity groups and settings; for example, all cause mortality was three times higher among people without cirrhosis in British Columbia (standardised mortality ratio 2.96, 95% confidence interval 2.71 to 3.23; P<0.001) and more than 10 times higher for patients with end stage liver disease in British Columbia (13.61, 11.94 to 15.49; P<0.001). In regression analyses, older age, recent substance misuse, alcohol misuse, and comorbidities were associated with higher mortality rates. CONCLUSION: Mortality rates among people successfully treated for hepatitis C in the era of interferon-free, direct acting antivirals are high compared with the general population. Drug and liver related causes of death were the main drivers of excess mortality. These findings highlight the need for continued support and follow-up after successful treatment for hepatitis C to maximise the impact of direct acting antivirals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere074001
JournalThe BMJ
Volume382
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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