Morbidity and mortality in compensated cirrhosis type C: a retrospective follow-up study of 384 patients

Gastroenterology. 1997 Feb;112(2):463-72. doi: 10.1053/gast.1997.v112.pm9024300.


Background & aims: Few data are available concerning the long-term prognosis of chronic liver disease associated with hepatitis C virus infection. This study examined the morbidity and survival of patients with compensated cirrhosis type C.

Methods: A cohort of 384 European cirrhotic patients was enrolled at seven tertiary referral hospitals and followed up for a mean period of 5 years. Inclusion criteria were biopsy-proven cirrhosis, abnormal serum aminotransferase levels, absence of complications of cirrhosis, and exclusion of hepatitis A and B viruses and of metabolic, toxic, or autoimmune liver diseases.

Results: Antibodies against hepatitis C virus were positive in 98% of 361 patients tested. The 5-year risk of hepatocellular carcinoma was 7% and that of decompensation was 18%. Death occurred in 51 patients (13%), with 70% dying of liver disease. Survival probability was 91% and 79% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Two hundred five patients (53%) were treated with interferon alfa. After adjustment for clinical and serological differences at baseline between patients treated or not treated with interferon, the 5-year estimated survival probability was 96% and 95% for treated and untreated patients, respectively.

Conclusions: In this cohort of patients, life expectancy is relatively long, in agreement with the morbidity data showing a slowly progressive disease.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C Antibodies / analysis
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Liver Cirrhosis / immunology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / mortality*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis


  • Hepatitis C Antibodies
  • Interferon-alpha