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A cross-sectional study of prolonged disengagement from clinic among people with HCV receiving care in a low-threshold, multidisciplinary clinic

Kendall CE, Fitzgerald M, Donelle J, Kwong JC, Galanakis C, Boyd R, Cooper CL. Can Liv J. 2020; 3(2):212-23. Epub 2019 Dec 27. DOI:

Background — Disengagement from care can affect treatment outcomes of patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV). We assessed the extent and determinants of disengagement among HCV patients receiving care at the Ottawa Hospital Viral Hepatitis Program (TOHVHP).

Methods — We linked clinical data of adult patients, categorized as ever or never disengaged from clinic (no TOHVHP encounters over 18 months), receiving care between April 1, 2002, and October 1, 2015, to provincial health administrative databases and calculated primary care use in the year after disengagement. We used adjusted Cox proportional hazards models to analyze variables associated with disengagement.

Results — Those disengaged from care (n = 657) were younger at presentation (46.6 [SD 11.1] versus 51.9 [SD 11.0] years), p < 0.001) and had lower comorbidity. After multivariable adjustment, we observed lower hazards of disengagement among those with higher compared with lower fibrosis scores (F3, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.08–0.57; F4, HR = 0.32, 95% CI 0.19–0.55) and those treated compared with never treated (received direct-acting antivirals [DAAs], HR = 0.71, 95% CI 0.58–0.88; received interferon but not DAA, HR = 0.66, 95% CI 0.55–0.80). We found no association with mental health or substance use disorders. In the year after disengagement, 74.3% (n = 488), 37.1% (n = 244), and 17.7% (n = 116) had at least one family physician visit, emergency department visit, and hospitalization, respectively.

Conclusions — Better integration of HCV specialty and primary care could improve disengagement rates among people with HCV.

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