Hepatitis C Mortality and Complication Rates in New York
Epidemiology Hepatitis C Mortality and Complication
Rates in New York Determined
New York State Department of Health epidemiologists
recently reviewed and compiled the mortality and
complication rates for hospital patients with hepatitis
C (HepC) virus in Upstate New York.
A report of these findings was presented by P.F.
Smith and associates at the 2000 International
Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, held in
July, 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference was
hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. The Smith et al. presentation was titled
"Mortality and Chronic Complications Among Persons
Dying with Hepatitis C, Upstate New York, 1997."
This review was performed by comparing patient
hospitalization discharge records for cause of death
with Upstate New York 1997 multiple cause of death
records. Records for patients within New York City were
omitted from the review.
"Their medical records were reviewed to verify
the diagnosis of HepC, ascertain the presence of
hepatitis-associated complications, and determine the
risk factors for HepC," researchers said.
More than 500 records were initially obtained from
hospitals, with 273 of those being officially included
in the study. A total of 80 patients for which medical
records were available had a diagnosis that mentioned
hepatitis C. Approximately 60% of the 80 patients were
male and of white race. The following complication rates
were determined based on record review:
• Encephalopathy (43%)
• Cirrhosis (81%)
• Hepatocellular carcinoma (6%)
• Renal failure (59%)
• Gastrointestinal bleeding (31%)
Additional data showed some patients to be coinfected
with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B
virus (HBV) at rates of 19% and 21%, respectively.
The investigators determined that in at least 75 of
the 80 cases, hepatitis C related complications were a
cause of death.
Previous drug use and receipt of blood products were
two risk factors for Hepatitis C Virus infection identified by Smith
et al., however, documentation was scarce in this area,
so other risk factors could not be identified.
"Matching HepC hospitalization deaths with death
certificates gave a minimal estimate of 491 deaths
(4.5/100,000) with HepC in Upstate NY in 1997,"
Smith et al. reported.
Smith and associates concluded that their data were
comparable to previously reported estimates for Hepatitis C Virus
"Diagnosis of patients with HepC is important
for appropriate counseling and care in order to decrease
complications and mortality from HepC," they said.
More than 30 additional articles on the topic of
hepatitis C and mortality can be seen at the online
database at www.NewsRx.com.
The corresponding author for this study is P.F.
Smith, New York State Department of Health, Division of
Epidemiology, New York, USA.
Key points reported in this study are:
• The rate for hepatitis C virus related deaths is
4.5/100,000 persons in Upstate New York
• Renal failure, encephalopathy, and cirrhosis are
some of the identified hepatitis C virus complications
that lead to death
• Mortality and complications from hepatitis C
virus infection can be prevented with proactive
diagnostic and treatment efforts