All-cause mortality in people with cirrhosis compared with the general population: a population-based cohort study

Liver Int. 2012 Jan;32(1):79-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2011.02517.x. Epub 2011 Apr 6.


Background: Mortality due to cirrhosis has tripled over the last 30 years in the UK. However, we lack adequate, contemporary, population-based estimates of the excess mortality patients who are at risk compared with the general population.

Aim: To determine the overall survival in patients with cirrhosis compared with the general population taking into account the effects of severity and aetiology of disease and comorbidity.

Methods: In a cohort study, we identified 4537 people with cirrhosis and a control cohort of 44 403 patients, matched by age, sex and general practice from the UK General Practice Research Database between June 1987 and April 2002.

Results: Patients with compensated cirrhosis had a nearly five-fold [hazard ratio (HR) 4.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.4-5.0] increased risk of death, while those with decompensated cirrhosis had a near 10-fold (HR 9.7, 95% CI 8.9-10.6) increased risk compared with the general population. Alcoholic cirrhosis conferred a worse prognosis than non-alcohol-related cirrhosis both in the first year following diagnosis and subsequently.

Conclusion: Having a diagnosis of cirrhosis confers a substantial increased mortality risk compared with the general population, even for those with compensated disease, with 5-year survival between that seen for breast and colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Comorbidity
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Survival Rate
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology