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Mortality rates among individuals diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV); an observational cohort study, England, 2008 to 2016

Publication date: 

2019-07-25 00:00:00


doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.30.1800695


Georgina Ireland, Sema Mandal, Matthew Hickman, Mary Ramsay, Ross Harris, Ruth Simmons.

Publication type: 



Background Monitoring trends in mortality for individuals diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are important as we expand treatment and move towards World Health Organization elimination targets. Aim To estimate mortality rates for individuals aged ≥ 15 years diagnosed with HCV infection in England 2008–16. Methods An observational cohort study whereby death certificate information was linked to the Sentinel Surveillance of Blood Borne Virus Testing in England. Age-sex standardised mortality rates (ASMR) for individuals diagnosed with HCV infection (2008–16) were calculated and compared to the general population. Results Of 43,895 individuals with HCV infection, 2,656 (6.3%) died. All-cause ASMRs were 2,834.2 per 100,000 person years (PY), 2.3 times higher than in the general population. In individuals aged 30–69 years, all-cause mortality rates were 1,768.9 per 100,000 PY among individuals with HCV, 4.7 times higher than in the general population. ASMRs had not decreased between 2010 (2,992) and 2016 (2,340; p=0.10), with no change from 2014 (p = 0.058). ASMRs were 441.0 times higher for hepatitis, 34.4 times higher for liver cancer, 8.1 times higher for end stage liver disease and 6.4 times higher for external causes than in the general population. Conclusions Mortality was higher in individuals with diagnosed HCV infection compared to the general population, highlighting health inequalities. There is a need to improve HCV diagnosis, engagement in care and treatment rates. The high mortality from external causes highlights the importance of integrated health and social care strategies and addressing the needs of this vulnerable population. Keywords: hepatitis C, mortality, direct acting antivirals, England, surveillance, epidemiology