Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a rare obliterative fibrotic condition of the bile ducts. We assessed PSC epidemiology and natural history within the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).
Incidence and natural history of PSC were evaluated in a retrospective cohort study using linkage of CPRD, Hospital Episode Statistics, and Office for National Statistics data. Data from age, sex, and general practice-matched population controls provided a context for the incident PSC patients. Liver disease other than PSC was defined as autoimmune hepatitis, hepatitis, hepatomegaly, liver failure, cirrhosis, portal hypertension, cholangiocarcinoma, or hepatobiliary cancer.
The age-standardized incidence of PSC was 0.68 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.45–0.99) per 100,000 person-years and the age-standardized prevalence was 5.58 (95% CI 4.82–7.35) per 100,000 during 1998 to 2014. In all, 250 incident PSC patients met the inclusion criteria and each was matched with 5 controls (mean age 54 ± 18 years, men 63.2%). A higher percentage of PSC patients had a history of inflammatory bowel disease (54% vs 2%) and liver disease other than PSC (22% vs 1%) than controls (standardized differenceweighted >0.1). During a median follow-up of 5 years, PSC patients were more likely to develop adverse health outcomes. The mortality rate per 1000 person-years was 3-fold higher in PSC than population controls (49.5 vs 16.1; incidence rate ratio 3.1, 95% CI 2.2–4.2).
The incidence and prevalence of PSC observed in the UK CPRD were either comparable with or higher than previous studies. Compared with the general population, PSC patients had worse health outcomes including PSC disease progression, complications, and higher mortality.