Toward a more complete understanding of the association between a hepatitis C sustained viral response and cause-specific outcomes

Hamish A. Innes*, Scott A. McDonald, John F. Dillon, Sam Allen, Peter C. Hayes, David Goldberg, Peter R. Mills, Stephen T. Barclay, David Wilks, Heather Valerio, Ray Fox, Diptendu Battacharyya, Nicholas Kennedy, Judith Morris, Andrew Fraser, Adrian J. Stanley, Peter Bramley, Sharon J. Hutchinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Sustained viral response (SVR) is the optimal outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy, yet more detailed data are required to confirm its clinical value. Individuals receiving treatment in 1996‐2011 were identified using the Scottish HCV clinical database. We sourced data on 10 clinical events: liver, nonliver, and all‐cause mortality; first hospitalisation for severe liver morbidity (SLM); cardiovascular disease (CVD); respiratory disorders; neoplasms; alcohol‐intoxication; drug intoxication; and violence‐related injury (note: the latter three events were selected a priori to gauge ongoing chaotic lifestyle behaviours). We determined the association between SVR attainment and each outcome event, in terms of the relative hazard reduction and absolute risk reduction (ARR). We tested for an interaction between SVR and liver disease severity (mild vs. nonmild), defining mild disease as an aspartate aminotransferase‐to‐platelet ratio index (APRI) <0.7. Our cohort comprised 3,385 patients (mean age: 41.6 years), followed‐up for a median 5.3 years (interquartile range: 3.3‐8.2). SVR was associated with a reduced risk of liver mortality (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR]: 0.24; P < 0.001), nonliver mortality (AHR, 0.68; P = 0.026), all‐cause mortality (AHR, 0.49; P < 0.001), SLM (AHR, 0.21; P < 0.001), CVD (AHR, 0.70; P = 0.001), alcohol intoxication (AHR, 0.52; P = 0.003), and violence‐related injury (AHR, 0.51; P = 0.002). After 7.5 years, SVR was associated with significant ARRs for liver mortality, all‐cause mortality, SLM, and CVD (each 3.0%‐4.7%). However, we detected a strong interaction, in that ARRs were considerably higher for individuals with nonmild disease than for individuals with mild disease. Conclusions: The conclusions are 3‐fold: (1) Overall, SVR is associated with reduced hazard for a range of hepatic and nonhepatic events; (2) an association between SVR and behavioral events is consistent with SVR patients leading healthier lives; and (3) the short‐term value of SVR is greatest for those with nonmild disease. (Hepatology 2015;62:355–364
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-364
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Early online date25 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • hepatitis C
  • prognosis
  • negative control
  • teachable moment
  • Hawthorne effect
  • chronic hepatitis C


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