Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology bDepartment of Biostatistics, Center for Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston cDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and alcohol abuse are common causes of cirrhosis in the USA. There are limited data on HCV prevalence and mortality trends in patients with alcoholic hepatitis (AH).
The present study was carried out to assess HCV prevalence and mortality in AH patients.
Patients with a primary or a secondary discharge diagnosis of AH obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample dataset (1998-2007) were stratified based on the presence of HCV. Factors associated with HCV positivity and in-hospital mortality were examined using multivariable logistic regression.
Of 76 957 719 admissions, 111 726 had AH (7240 were HCV positive). The prevalence of HCV in AH patients was 3.6% in 1998 and 7.7% in 2007. In-hospital mortality was 3.2% (6.3% in 1998 and 2.7% in 2007), with an ∼7% annual decrease between 1998 and 2007. HCV was an independent predictor of in-hospital mortality after controlling for calendar year [odds ratio 1.29; 95% CI (1.12-1.49); P=0.0005].
Patients with AH have a higher prevalence of HCV compared with the general population. Although in-hospital mortality in AH patients has improved, HCV infection predicts a higher mortality. Further studies are required to determine the mechanisms of interaction of HCV and AH and develop treatment strategies to improve outcome of HCV-infected AH patients.