Role of Non-hepatic Medical Comorbidity and Functional Limitations in Predicting Mortality in Patients with HCV

Dig Dis Sci. 2017 Jan;62(1):76-83. doi: 10.1007/s10620-016-4303-2. Epub 2016 Sep 21.


Background: Medical comorbidities and functional status limitations are determinants of mortality in many chronic diseases. The extent to which survival in the rapidly aging cohort of patients with HCV is affected by these competing causes of mortality remains unclear.

Aim: We sought to determine the effect of medical/functional comorbidities on survival after adjusting for liver disease severity in a cohort of patients with HCV infection.

Methods: We prospectively recruited consecutive patients from an HCV clinic 2009-2014. We calculated an index of survival (Schonberg Index, SI) based on age, gender, medical comorbidities, and functional status variables. We defined cirrhosis with the FibroSure test (F3/4-F4). We used multivariable Cox modeling to assess association between functional/survival measure and survival after adjustment for severity of liver disease.

Results: The cohort consisted of 1052 HCV patients. The average age was 56.8 years; 36 % had cirrhosis. The mean SI was 8.2 (SD = 2.7). During a mean follow-up of 5610 person-years, 102 (9.7 %) patients died. In unadjusted analysis, higher baseline SI predicted mortality (HR 1.17; 95 % CI 1.09-1.25). SI similarly predicted mortality in cirrhotic patients (HR 1.23, 95 % CI 1.13-1.34) and non-cirrhotic patients (HR 1.21, 95 % CI 1.08-1.36). This did not change after adjusting for age, drug use, or coronary artery disease.

Discussion: Comorbidities and functional limitations predict higher mortality in patients with HCV; this relationship is independent of cirrhosis. Use of general prognostic indices may help identify HCV patients at high risk for mortality, which could further guide clinical care in a manner not achievable with assessment of liver disease alone.

Keywords: Comorbidity; Epidemiology; Hepatitis C; Hepatology; Mortality; Natural history; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • End Stage Liver Disease
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Heart Failure / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / mortality*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate
  • United States / epidemiology