Impact of hepatitis C virus infection on all-cause and liver-related mortality in a large community-based cohort of inner city residents

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SUMMARY.The aim of this study was to measure the impact of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection on mortality in a cohort of inner city residents. The Community Health and Safety Evaluation is a community-based study of inner city residents followed retrospectively and prospectively through linkages with provincial virology and mortality databases. We identified participants having received HCV antibody testing, evaluated cause-specific mortality rates and factors associated with all-cause and liver-related mortality using Cox Proportional Hazards models. Overall, 2332 participants received HCV antibody testing (recent non-injection drug use – 81%). The prevalence of HCV and HIV was 64% (1495 of 2332) and 21% (485 of 2332), respectively. Between January 2003 and December 2007, there were 180 deaths (192 per 10 000 person-years; 95% CI: 165, 222), with 21% HIV-related, 20% drug-related and 7% liver-related. Mortality was associated with age >50 [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) 2.80 vs <40 years (referent group); 95% CI 1.93, 4.07, P < 0.001] and HIV infection (AHR 3.81; 95% CI 2.72, 5.34, P < 0.001), but not positive HCV antibody status (AHR 1.19; 95% CI 0.83, 1.72, P = 0.35). Liver-related mortality was associated with age >50 [AHR 18.49 vs <40 years (referent group); 95% CI 2.27, 150.41, P < 0.001] and positive HCV antibody status (AHR 7.69; 95% CI 0.99, 59.98, P = 0.052). This study demonstrates a high rate of mortality in this population, particularly those with HIV. HCV-infected inner city residents >50 years of age were at significant risk of liver-related mortality. Continued surveillance of this population infected with HCV in the 1970s and 1980s is important.

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