Background and Aim: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is associated with impairment in health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The purpose of this study was to evaluate HRQOL across the HCV disease spectrum using preference-based (utility) and non-preference-based (psychometric) methods, adjusting for sociodemographic factors and co-morbidity.
Methods: Hepatitis C virus patients (n = 751) were recruited from several tertiary care settings in Vancouver, Canada for this observational, cross-sectional cohort study. Patients completed the Health Utilities Index Mark 2/3, a self-administered time trade-off utility instrument, and the Hepatitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (SF-36 with HCV-specific items). We examined the association between HRQOL and disease stage using linear regression adjusting for age, education, marital status, income, and co-morbidities.
Results: Utility scores were low across disease stage and instrument, ranging from 0.51 to 0.80. On the SF-36, the mean Physical Component Summary score ranged from 37.2 to 49.2 across disease stage, and the Mental Component Summary score ranged from 39.7 to 45.7 (United States norms = 50). In general, patients with viral clearance had the highest scores, and those with late-stage disease (cirrhosis, liver cancer) had the lowest. Multivariable linear regression showed that the effect of disease stage was modest overall. Increasing age, lower income, unattached marital status, and high comorbidity were strongly associated with impairment in HRQOL.
Conclusions: The effect of stage of disease on HRQOL is modest, although viral clearance is associated with higher HRQOL. HCV patients' HRQOL is strongly associated with concomitant illness and sociodemographic factors.