Predicting in-hospital mortality in patients with cirrhosis: Results differ across risk adjustment methods

Authors

  • Robert P. Myers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    • Liver Unit, University of Calgary, 6D22, Teaching, Research and Wellness Building, 3280 Hospital Drive N.W., Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1
    Search for more papers by this author
    • fax: 403-592-5090.

  • Hude Quan,

    1. Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • James N. Hubbard,

    1. Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Abdel Aziz M. Shaheen,

    1. Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gilaad G. Kaplan

    1. Liver Unit, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    2. Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

Abstract

Risk-adjusted health outcomes are often used to measure the quality of hospital care, yet the optimal approach in patients with liver disease is unclear. We sought to determine whether assessments of illness severity, defined as risk for in-hospital mortality, vary across methods in patients with cirrhosis. We identified 258,731 patients with cirrhosis hospitalized in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between 2002 and 2005. The performance of four common risk adjustment methods (the Charlson/Deyo and Elixhauser comorbidity algorithms, Disease Staging, and All Patient Refined Diagnosis Related Groups [APR-DRGs]) for predicting in-hospital mortality was determined using the c-statistic. Subgroup analyses were conducted according to a primary versus secondary diagnosis of cirrhosis and in homogeneous patient subgroups (hepatic encephalopathy, hepatocellular carcinoma, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, hip fracture, and cholelithiasis). Patients were also ranked according to the probability of death as predicted by each method, and rankings were compared across methods. Predicted mortality according to the risk adjustment methods agreed for only 55%–67% of patients. Similarly, performance of the methods for predicting in-hospital mortality varied significantly. Overall, the c-statistics (95% confidence interval) for the Charlson/Deyo and Elixhauser algorithms, Disease Staging, and APR-DRGs were 0.683 (0.680–0.687), 0.749 (0.746–0.752), 0.832 (0.829–0.834), and 0.875 (0.873–0.878), respectively. Results were robust across diagnostic subgroups, but performance was lower in patients with a primary versus secondary diagnosis of cirrhosis. Conclusion: Mortality analyses in patients with cirrhosis require sensitivity to the method of risk adjustment. Because different methods often produce divergent severity rankings, analyses of provider-specific outcomes may be biased depending on the method used. (HEPATOLOGY 2008.)

Ancillary