Contribution of alcohol use disorders on the burden of chronic hepatitis C in France, 2008-2013: A nationwide retrospective cohort study

J Hepatol. 2017 Sep;67(3):454-461. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2017.03.031. Epub 2017 Apr 8.


Background & aims: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients are at risk of alcohol use disorders (AUDs). We measured the contribution of AUDs on the burden of chronic HCV infection in French HCV patients.

Methods: The hospital trajectory of 97,347 French HCV patients aged 18-65 in January 2008 were tracked and followed until in-hospital death or December 2013. Primary outcome was the frequency of liver-related complications. Secondary outcomes were the frequency of liver transplantation and otherwise cause-specific mortality. Adjusted odds ratios (OR), population attributable risks of AUDs and other cofactors of liver disease progression associated with HCV transmission were measured.

Results: The 28,101 (28.9%) individuals with AUDs had the highest odds for liver-related complications (OR=7.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.90 to 7.50), liver transplantation (OR=4.28; 95% CI, 3.80 to 4.82), and liver death (OR=6.20; 95% CI, 5.85 to 6.58). Alcohol rehabilitation and abstinence were associated with 60% (95% CI, 57% to 63%) and 78% (95% CI, 76% to 80%) reduction of liver-related complications, respectively. The attributable risk of AUDs was 71.8% (95% CI, 66.0 to 76.8) of 17,669 liver-related complications, 67.4% (95% CI, 61.6 to 72.4) of 1,599 liver transplantations, and 68.8% (95% CI, 63.4 to 73.5) of 6,677 liver deaths. The number of liver transplantations remained stable and the number of liver deaths increased, at a faster rate for individuals with AUDs, over the observational period.

Conclusion: In France, AUDs contributed to more than two-thirds of the burden of chronic HCV infection in young and middle-aged adults over 2008-2013.

Lay summary: This study tracked liver-related complications and mortality of all 97,347 young and middle-aged patients (18-65years old) discharged with chronic HCV infection from French hospitals over 2008-2013. About 30% patients were recorded with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and had the highest odds for liver-related complications (i.e. decompensated cirrhosis and liver cancer). AUDs contributed to more than two-thirds of 1,599 liver transplantations and 6,677 liver deaths recorded in patients with chronic HCV infection over 2008-2013 in France. Alcohol rehabilitation and abstinence were associated with above a 50% risk reduction of liver-related complications. Promoting alcohol abstinence should receive high priority to reduce the burden of chronic HCV infection.

Keywords: Alcohol use disorders; Burden of disease; Chronic hepatitis C; Cirrhosis; Disease progression; End-stage liver disease; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Mortality; Natural history; Prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / mortality
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors