Hospitalizations And Costs Associated With Hepatitis C And Advanced Liver Disease Continue To Increase
Author: Fujie Xu, Xin Tong, Andrew J. Leidner
Disease burden models have predicted worsening morbidity of liver disease caused by hepatitis C in the United States. The aim of this study was to determine the trend in hospitalizations caused by hepatitis C and advanced liver disease. We analyzed data for the period 2004–11 from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest nationwide all-payer hospital inpatient care database. Hospitalization rates for hepatitis C per 100,000 people increased significantly from 4.76 in 2004–05 to 13.81 in 2010–11—an increase of 190 percent. Hospitalization rates for advanced liver disease also increased, particularly for hepatorenal syndrome (93 percent) and portal hypertension (62 percent). Hepatitis C was the principal diagnosis for 64,867 hospitalizations in 2010–11, resulting in a total charge of $3.5 billion. We found nationwide trends in increasing morbidity and medical costs for advanced liver disease associated with hepatitis C. Our findings suggest that hepatitis C is a public health problem and has been growing in magnitude in recent years. Stakeholders and policy makers should implement both recommended screenings for people born in the period 1945–65 and more effective treatment for hepatitis C, which have the potential to reverse the rising morbidity and costs of hepatitis C.