Importance: Changes in the characteristics of patients with cirrhosis are likely to affect future outcomes and are important to understand in planning for the care of this population. Objective: To identify changes in demographic and clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients with newly diagnosed cirrhosis. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective cohort study of patients with a new diagnosis of cirrhosis was conducted using the Indiana Network for Patient Care, a large statewide regional health information exchange, between 2004 and 2014. Patients with at least 1 year of continuous follow-up before the cirrhosis diagnosis were followed up through August 1, 2015. The analysis was conducted from December 2018 to January 2019. Exposures: Age, cause of cirrhosis, and year of diagnosis. Main Outcomes and Measures: Overall rates for mortality, liver transplant, hepatocellular carcinoma, and hepatic decompensation (composite of ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, or variceal bleeding). Results: A total of 9261 patients with newly diagnosed cirrhosis were identified (mean [SD] age, 57.9 [12.6] years; 5109 [55.2%] male). A 69% increase in new diagnoses occurred over the course of the study period (620 in 2004 vs 1045 in 2014). The proportion of those younger than 40 years increased by 0.20% per year (95% CI, 0.04% to 0.36%; P for trend =.02), and the proportion of those aged 65 years and older increased by 0.81% per year (95% CI, 0.51% to 1.11%; P for trend <.001). The proportion of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis increased by 0.80% per year (95% CI, 0.49% to 1.12%), and the proportion with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis increased by 0.59% per year (95% CI, 0.30% to 0.87%), whereas the proportion with viral hepatitis decreased by 1.36% per year (95% CI,-1.68% to-1.03%) (P <.001 for all). In patients younger than 40 years, 40 to 64 years, and 65 years and older, mortality rates were 6.4 (95% CI, 5.4 to 7.6), 9.9 (95% CI, 9.5 to 10.4), and 16.2 (95% CI, 15.2 to 17.2) per 100 person-years, respectively (P <.001). Mortality rates decreased during the study period (11.9 [95% CI, 10.7-13.1] per 100 person-years in 2004 vs 10.0 [95% CI, 8.1-12.2] per 100 person-years in 2014; annual adjusted hazard ratio, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.86 to 0.88]) and were lower in those with alcoholic cirrhosis compared with patients with viral hepatitis (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.89 [95% CI, 0.80 to 0.98]). Rates of hepatocellular carcinoma were low in patients younger than 40 years (0.5 [95% CI, 0.2 to 0.9] per 100 person-years). Liver transplant rates were low throughout the study period (0.3 [95% CI, 0.3-0.4] per 100 person-years). In patients with compensated cirrhosis, rates of hepatic decompensation were lower in patients younger than 40 years (adjusted subhazard ratio 0.78; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.99) and in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (adjusted subhazard ratio, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.60). Conclusions and Relevance: The population of patients with newly diagnosed cirrhosis in Indiana has experienced changes in the age distribution and cause of cirrhosis, with decreasing mortality rates. These findings support investment in the prevention and treatment of alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, particularly in younger and older patients. Additional study is needed to identify the reasons for decreasing mortality rates.
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