Chronic hepatitis C infection is associated with increased risk of mortality when severe comorbidities and/or alcohol use disorders are also present

April 25, 2015, Vienna, Austria: Results presented today at The International Liver Congress™ 2015, show that alcohol use disorders (AUD) have a serious, negative prognostic outcome with higher mortality risks in the general population and patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in particular.

The study found that chronic HCV infection has a limited impact on mortality, unless the patient also has other severe comorbidities, such as HIV infection, cancer or chronic kidney disease. In contrast, those with AUDs are at significant risk of death with a higher mortality risk observed across all the study subgroups.

Michaël Schwarzinger, Director, THEN (Translational Health Economics Network) and Vincent Mallet, Professor of Hepatology, Université Paris Descartes and Assistance Publique — Hôpitaux de Paris, France, commented: “There is an epidemiological relationship between chronic HCV infection and AUD. However, the burden of chronic HCV infection analyses barely take into account the potential confounding role of AUD on prognosis. Our primary aim was to study the confounding role of severe comorbidities and AUD on prognosis in Hep C patients in a real-life setting.”

Between 2008 and 2012, 28,953,755 adults residing in Metropolitan France were hospitalised and 1,506,453 died at hospital. All hospitalised patients were characterised by severe comorbidities and their trajectory was tracked according to chronic HCV infection and/or AUD. Chronic HCV infection was present in 112,146 (0.39%) of hospitalised patients, AUD in 705,259 (2.44%), and both chronic HCV infection and AUD in 23,351 (i.e., 20.8% AUD recorded in Hep C patients).

The researchers found that:
• Chronic HCV infection was mostly associated with higher mortality risks in the presence of severe comorbidities (e.g., HIV/AIDS, liver transplant receipt)
• In the absence of severe comorbidities, the prognostic value of chronic HCV infection was mostly explained by the presence of AUD (end-stage liver disease and mortality)
• More broadly, AUD was associated with higher mortality risks in all hospitalized patients, and alcohol withdrawal or abstinence was significantly associated with lower mortality risks

“These results show that alcohol use disorders are a much more accurate indicator of mortality in chronic HCV infection, and highlight the need to encourage alcohol withdrawal and abstinence in all patients,” said Professor Tom Hemming Karlsen, Scientific Committee Member, European Association for the Study of the Liver.

About The International Liver Congress™
This annual congress is the biggest event in the EASL calendar, attracting scientific and medical experts from around the world to learn about the latest in liver research. Specialists share research studies and findings, and discuss the hottest topics related to liver disease. This year, the congress is expected to attract approximately 10,000 delegates from all corners of the globe. 2015 is a very special year for EASL and the hepatology community as they will celebrate the 50th annual meeting. The International Liver Congress™ takes place from April 22-26, 2015, Vienna, Austria.

About EASL (www.easl.eu)
Since EASL’s foundation in 1966, this not-for-profit organisation has grown to over 4,000 members from more than 100 countries around the world. EASL is the leading liver association in Europe, it attracts the foremost hepatology experts and has an impressive track record in promoting research in liver disease, supporting wider education and promoting changes in European liver policy.

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General session 3, Hall D
Presentation time: 09:45-10:00
Presenter: Michaël Schwarzinger (France)
Abstract G16: THE COUNFOUNDING ROLE OF SEVERE COMORBIDITIES AND ALCOHOL USE DISORDERS ON PROGNOSIS IN CHRONIC HEPATITIS C VIRUS INFECTION: AN ANALYSIS OF THE 2008-2012 FRENCH NATIONAL HOSPITAL DISCHARGE DATABASE

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