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Cause-specific mortality among patients with cirrhosis in a population-based cohort study in Ontario (2000-2017)


Background — Although patients with cirrhosis are at increased risk of death, the exact causes of death have not been reported in the contemporary era. This study aimed to describe cause-specific mortality in patients with cirrhosis in the general population.

Methods — Retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare data from Ontario, Canada. Adult patients with cirrhosis from 2000–2017 were identified. Cirrhosis etiologies were defined as HCV, HBV, alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD), NAFLD, or autoimmune liver disease/other with validated algorithms. Patients were followed until death, liver transplant, or end of study. Primary outcome was the cause of death as liver-related, cardiovascular disease, non-hepatic malignancy, and external causes (accident/self-harm/suicide/homicide). Nonparametric analyses were used to describe the cumulative incidence of cause-specific death by cirrhosis etiology, sex, and compensation status.

Results — Overall, 202,022 patients with cirrhosis were identified (60% male, median age 56 y (IQR 46–67), 52% NAFLD, 26% alcohol-associated liver disease, 11% HCV). After a median follow-up of 5 years (IQR 2–12), 81,428 patients died, and 3024 (2%) received liver transplant . Patients with compensated cirrhosis mostly died from non-hepatic malignancies and cardiovascular disease (30% and 27%, respectively, in NAFLD). The 10-year cumulative incidence of liver-related deaths was the highest among those with viral hepatitis (11%–18%) and alcohol-associated liver disease (25%), those with decompensation (37%) and/or HCC (50%–53%). Liver transplant occurred at low rates (< 5%), and in men more than women.

Conclusions — Cardiovascular disease and cancer-related mortality exceed liver-related mortality in patients with compensated cirrhosis.



Wang PL, Djerboua M, Flemming JA. Hepatol Commun. 2023; 7(7):e00194. Epub 2023 Jun 28.

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