• cirrhosis;
  • HCV;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • quality of life;
  • socioeconomic factors


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic liver disease and is associated with impairments in health-related quality of life.

Aims: To evaluate quality of life (QOL) in cirrhotic (compensated and decompensated) and non-cirrhotic patients with chronic HCV infection, using preference-based (utilities) and non-preference-based methods of evaluating QOL.

Methods: In a tertiary care setting, 271 patients completed a self-administered time trade-off utility instrument, the Health Utility Index Mark 2 and Mark 3, and the Hepatitis Quality of Life Questionnaire Version 2. Mean QOL scores were compared across HCV disease stages and sociodemographical categories. We examined the association between QOL and disease stage using linear regression adjusting for age, education, marital status, log income and Charlson comorbidity scores. Mean utility scores were compared across disease stages using a propensity score method.

Results: Mean utilities were lower than general population norms (0.81–0.92) and ranged from 0.62 to 0.82 in non-cirrhotic patients (n=197), 0.56–0.84 in compensated cirrhotic patients (n=17) and 0.55–0.76 for decompensated cirrhotic patients (n=57). No significant association found was between disease stage and utility for current health status. Higher income, fewer comorbidities and living in a married or common-law relationship were significantly associated with higher utilities and better QOL. No significant difference in utilities was found between disease stages using propensity score matching.

Conclusions: Our study confirms that changes in HCV disease stage explain only small changes in QOL and suggests that factors such as underlying comorbidities, income and marital status have a greater effect on QOL than disease stage.