Background: We lack population-based estimates of the rate of decompensation in people with compensated cirrhosis as well as estimates of the manner in which the disease progresses once identified.
Aim: To determine the rate of decompensation and clinical progression of disease in patients with cirrhosis based upon clinical symptoms recorded electronically in general practice data.
Methods: Using Cox proportional hazards regression, we modelled the rate of decompensation for patients from the UK General Practice Research Database with a diagnosis of cirrhosis between 1987 and 2002. We determined the clinical progression in the first year following diagnosis and subsequently categorizing patients through time according to a simple clinical staging system agreed at the Baveno IV consensus conference.
Results: The rate of decompensation in patients with compensated cirrhosis was found to be 11% overall. The rate of decompensation was higher in the first year (at 31% compared with 7.3% afterwards) and in patients with an alcoholic aetiology. Patients with compensated cirrhosis had a 1-year probability of proceeding directly to death of 7% compared with 20% in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
Conclusions: Using data recorded in general practice records, it is possible to determine the rate of decompensation and the clinical progression of disease in people with cirrhosis.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.