Adults with hepatitis C had an increased risk for dying and for dying prematurely compared with the general population, according to findings from a study conducted in New York.
They were particularly likely to die of HCV-associated conditions, such as HIV or drug use, researchers from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“Identifying HCV-infected persons earlier and linking them to comprehensive care and treatment services, and reducing new infections and preventing drug-related deaths through harm reduction, is likely to have long- and short-term benefits for reducing premature mortality and HCV-associated health care costs,” the researchers wrote.
They compared surveillance data from 2000 to 2010 with mortality data from 2000 to 2011. Both sets of data were maintained by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They cross-matched the data and analyzed factors associated with death and causes of death among those with HCV.
From 2000 to 2010, there were 128,444 people reported to have HCV, and of those, 18,291 (14%) of them also had HIV. Among those with HCV monoinfection, 13,307 died from 2000 to 2011, and of those, 8,525 (64.1%) died prematurely. Among adults with HIV/HCV coinfection, 5,475 died from 2000 to 2011 and 94% died prematurely. Among the 619,254 deaths of adults with neither disease, 25.3% died prematurely.
The median age of death among those with HCV monoinfection was 60 years, significantly younger than those with no infection, who died at a median age of 78 years. Adults with HIV/HCV coinfection died at a median age of 52 years, significantly younger than both those with HCV monoinfection and those with neither infection.
People with HCV monoinfection had higher odds of dying of liver cancer (OR=9.2), drug-related causes (OR=4.3) or cirrhosis (OR=3.7) compared with people with no infection. Those with HIV/HCV coinfection also had higher odds of dying of liver cancer (OR=2.2) or drug-related causes (OR=3.1), but 53.6% of people with HIV/HCV coinfection died of HIV/AIDS-related causes.
“It is important to continue to track mortality among people with HCV to assess changes in age at death and causes of death, as these important developments in the public health response to HCV unfold,” the researchers wrote.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.