Hepatitis C-related cirrhosis will be a marginal cause of hospital admissions in the near future

Sergio Rodríguez-Tajes, Anna Pocurull, Joaquín Castillo, Gherzon Casanova, Laia Vega, Sabela Lens, Zoe Mariño, María Carlota Londoño, Alejandro Forner, Ferran Torres, Xavier Forns*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background & Aims: Complications of cirrhosis are the main cause of hospital admissions in liver units. In areas where HCV is prevalent, most of these admissions are attributable to HCV-related cirrhosis (HCV-cirrhosis). This study assessed the impact of direct-acting antivirals (DAA) in the profile of patients with liver disease admitted to a referral liver unit from a university hospital. Methods: We registered hospital admissions resulting from cirrhosis to the Liver Unit of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, from 2011 to 2014 (pre-DAA period) and from 2015 to 2019 (post-DAA period). Results: From a total of 14,865 hospital admissions, 10,053 resulted from cirrhosis (corresponding to 6,272 patients). The number and proportion of hospital admissions because of HCV-cirrhosis remained stable during the period 2011–2014 (525 per year, 48.8% of the total), but decreased progressively after 2015 (p <0.001), reaching <300 (27.1%) admissions in 2019. Similarly, HCV-cirrhosis accounted for 3,885 inpatient days per year (44.9%) during the pre-DAA period and decreased steadily after 2015 (p >0.001), reaching only 1,909 inpatient days (22%) in 2019. The figures for intensive care unit admissions followed a similar pattern. By means of a slope analysis (binomial regression model), we predicted that HCV-cirrhosis hospital admissions will be residual by 2025 (2.3%, 95% CI 0–10.9%). By contrast, we observed a significant increase in hospital admissions because of metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (5-fold) and autoimmune hepatitis (4-fold) during the study period. Conclusions: In summary, our data showed a profound reduction in HCV-cirrhosis hospitalisation burden since 2015, coincident with the wide use of DAAs in Spain. Our predictions suggest that, by 2025, HCV-cirrhosis will be a marginal cause of hospital admissions for patients with liver disease. Lay summary: Over the past few years, the wide use of antiviral drugs that cure HCV has had a significant effect on patients being admitted to hospital. Most patients with HCV and cirrhosis are treated (and often cured) in the community and, thus, the number of hospital admissions because of severe forms of HCV has decreased drastically. HCV is no longer the first cause of admission into liver units and, in only a few years from now, it is likely to be only a residual cause of hospitalisation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1360-1367
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Decompensation
  • Direct-acting antivirals
  • Hospitalization burden
  • Viral eradication


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