Characteristics of Inpatient Stays Involving Hepatitis C

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Statistical Brief #232

Characteristics of Inpatient Stays Involving Hepatitis C, a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, presents data for adults aged 18 years and older on hepatitis C-related inpatient stays, including those among patients with and without key co-occurring diagnoses: hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and alcoholic liver disease. The number of people in the United States with hepatitis C is estimated at 4.6 million, of whom an estimated 3.2 million are chronically infected.

Acute hepatitis C cases nearly tripled from 2010 through 2015, likely the result of increasing injection drug use due to the growing opioid epidemic. People with hepatitis C can have a mild, short-term illness. However, 75–85 percent of those who become infected with hepatitis C develop a chronic infection that can result in cirrhosis, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), and death. Factors associated with the progression of liver disease in people with chronic hepatitis C include coinfection with hepatitis B virus, coinfection with HIV, and high levels of alcohol intake. Chronic hepatitis C virus is the most common indication for liver transplants among U.S. adults.

Highlights

  • In 2014, there were 636,900 adult hospitalizations involving hepatitis C. Stays involving hepatitis C only—without co-occurring hepatitis B, HIV, or alcoholic liver disease—increased 48.9 percent between 2005 and 2014.
  • Average costs, length of stay, and the proportion of in-hospital deaths in 2014 were all higher for stays involving hepatitis C than for stays without hepatitis C.
  • Black patients and those with Medicaid as the expected payer constituted a higher proportion of stays involving hepatitis C than stays without hepatitis C.
  • Baby boomers (patients aged 52–72 years) had the highest rate of inpatient stays involving hepatitis C in 2014: 503.1 per 100,000 population versus 155.4 for younger patients and 117.1 for older patients.
  • The following are comparisons to the national average rate of hepatitis C-related inpatient stays in 2014:
    • The Middle Atlantic division had higher rates across all age groups.
    • The Mountain and East North Central divisions had lower rates across all age groups.
    • The West South Central division had higher rates for baby boomers but lower rates for younger and older patients.
    • The New England and East South Central divisions had higher rates for younger patients and lower rates for older patients; the opposite was true in the Pacific division.

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Page last reviewed December 2017
Page originally created December 2017
Internet Citation: Characteristics of Inpatient Stays Involving Hepatitis C. Content last reviewed December 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/characteristics-inpatient-hepatitis-c.html