Socioeconomic and marital status among liver cirrhosis patients and associations with mortality: a population-based cohort study in Sweden

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The importance of socioeconomic status for survival in cirrhosis patients is more or less pronounced within different populations, most likely due to cultural and regional differences combined with dissimilarities in healthcare system organisation and accessibility. Our aim was to study the survival of patients with cirrhosis in a population-based Swedish cohort, using available data on marital status, employment status, and occupational skill level.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 582 patients diagnosed with cirrhosis in the Region of Halland (total population 310,000) between 2011 and 2018. Medical and histopathologic data, obtained from registries, were reviewed. Cox regression models were used to estimate associations between survival and marital status (married, never married, previously married), employment status (employed, pensioner, disability retired, unemployed), and occupational skill level (low-skilled: level I; medium-skilled: level II; medium-high skilled: level III; professionals: level IV); adjusting for sex, age, aetiology, Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, Child-Pugh class, and comorbidities.

RESULTS: Alcohol was the most common aetiology (51%). Most patients were male (63%) and the median age was 66 years. Occupational skill level was associated with the severity of cirrhosis at diagnosis and the prevalence of Child-Pugh C gradually increased from professionals through low-skilled. The mean survival for professionals (6.39 years, 95% CI 5.54-7.23) was higher than for low-skilled (3.00 years, 95% CI 2.33-3.67) and medium-skilled (4.04 years, 95% CI 3.64-4.45). The calculated hazard ratios in the multivariate analysis were higher for low-skilled (3.43, 95% CI 1.89-6.23) and medium-skilled (2.48, 95% CI 1.48-4.12), compared to professionals. When aggregated, low- and medium-skilled groups also had poorer mean survival (3.79 years, 95% CI 3.44-4.14; vs 5.64 years, 95% CI 5.00-6.28) and higher hazard ratios (1.85, 95% CI 1.32-2.61) compared to the aggregated medium-high skilled and professional groups. Marital and employment status were not statistically significant predictors of mortality in the multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Occupational skill level was strongly associated with mean survival and mortality risk. Poorer prognosis among patients with low and medium occupational skill level could not be explained by differences in sex, age, marital status, employment status, MELD score, Child-Pugh class, or comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1820
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 30

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Urology and Nephrology

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