Measurement of the quality of care of patients admitted with decompensated cirrhosis

Liver Int. 2014 Feb;34(2):204-10. doi: 10.1111/liv.12225. Epub 2013 Jun 14.


Background & aims: Process-based quality measures are increasingly used to evaluate hospital performance. However, practices vary, and patients with cirrhosis are a challenge to manage, given their risks of mortality, morbidity, and resources utilization. In 2010, process-based quality measures were developed to improve the care of these patients. We examined adherence with these quality measures for a cohort of patients admitted with decompensated cirrhosis in 2009.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients admitted to a tertiary-care hospital with decompensated cirrhosis in 2009 (n = 149,379) hospitalizations. Quality indicator (QI) scores were calculated for each admission as a fraction, i.e., the number of quality markers met divided by the number of possible quality indices, given the patient's presentation (range, 0-1). QI scores were correlated with patient characteristics and clinical outcomes (30-day readmission; inpatient death).

Results: Quality indicators were met 45% of the time (95% confidence interval, 40-51%). In multivariable analysis, QI scores were significantly lower among non-English-speaking patients and those who had congestive heart failure. QI scores were higher among patients with gastrointestinal bleeding or encephalopathy-related admission to the hospital. QI scores were not associated with inpatient mortality or 30-day readmission.

Conclusion: There is substantial opportunity to improve the care of patients hospitalized for decompensated cirrhosis. Additional research is needed to identify effective strategies for closing gaps in care. Adherence to quality measures did not affect clinical outcomes, but if easily measured in other settings could be used to compare hospitals and practices.

Keywords: decompensated cirrhosis; healthcare quality; outcome research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy*
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies