Extrahepatic causes of death in cirrhosis compared to other chronic conditions in the United States, 1999-2017

Nov. 24, 2021

Introduction and objectives

Cirrhosis-related mortality is underestimated and is increasing; extrahepatic factors may contribute. We examined trends in cirrhosis mortality from 1999-2017 in the United States attributed to liver-related (varices, peritonitis, hepatorenal syndrome, hepatic encephalopathy, hepatocellular carcinoma, sepsis) or extrahepatic (cardiovascular disease, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, malignancy) causes, and compared mortality trends with congestive heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) populations.

Materials and methods

A national mortality database was used. Changes in age-standardized mortality over time were determined by joinpoint analysis. Average annual percentage change (AAPC) was estimated.


Cirrhosis cohort: From 1999-2017, both liver-related (AAPC 1.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.7-1.9) and extrahepatic mortality (AAPC 1.0%; 95% CI 0.7-1.2) increased. Cirrhosis vs other chronic disease cohorts: changes in all-cause mortality were higher in cirrhosis (AAPC 1.0%; 95% CI 0.7-1.4) than CHF (AAPC 0.1%; 95% CI -0.5- 0.8) or COPD (AAPC -0.4%; 95% CI -0.6- -0.2). Sepsis mortality was highest in cirrhosis (AAPC 3.6%, 95% 3.2- 4.1) compared to CHF (AAPC 0.6%, 95% CI -0.5- 1.7) or COPD (AAPC 0.8%, 95% CI 0.5- 1.2). Cardiovascular mortality increased in cirrhosis (AAPC 1.3%, 95% CI 1.1- 1.5), declined in CHF (AAPC -2.0%, 95% CI -5.3- 1.3) and remained unchanged in COPD (AAPC 0.1%, 95% CI -0.2- 0.4). Extrahepatic mortality was higher among women, rural populations, and individuals >65 years with cirrhosis.

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