The burden of untreated hepatitis C virus infection: a US patients' perspective

Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Nov;57(11):2995-3003. doi: 10.1007/s10620-012-2233-1. Epub 2012 Jun 5.


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is widespread and associated with high economic costs and reduced quality of life, but the impact of untreated HCV infection on patient outcome is not well understood.

Aims: To estimate the impact of untreated HCV infection on work productivity, daily activity, healthcare use, economic costs, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Methods: Respondents to the 2010 US National Health and Wellness Survey (n = 75,000) reporting physician diagnosis of HCV infection but not current or previous treatment (patients) were matched to respondents without HCV infection (controls) by use of propensity scores. Those reporting infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were excluded. Self-reported work impairment, activity impairment, healthcare resource use, and HRQoL were compared between patients and controls. Indirect and direct costs were estimated.

Results: A total of 306 patients met inclusion criteria. Patients were more impaired at work than controls, with overall work impairment of 26 % versus 15 %, respectively (P < 0.001), mostly because of presenteeism in both groups. Annual productivity losses were estimated at $10,316 per employed patient compared with $5,469 per control (P < 0.001). Patients used more healthcare, with all-cause healthcare costs estimated at $22,818 per patient annually, compared with $15,362 per control (P < 0.001). HRQoL and activity impairment were also worse among patients than controls.

Conclusions: Untreated HCV infection is associated with substantial economic costs to society, through loss of productivity and increased use of healthcare resources, and with impaired well-being of the patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Algorithms
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Employment / economics
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Surveys
  • Hepatitis C / economics*
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score
  • Quality of Life
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • United States / epidemiology