Surveillance of patients with cirrhosis remains suboptimal in the United States.
Regular monitoring/surveillance for liver complications is crucial in the management of patients with cirrhosis to reduce morbidity and mortality. Recommendations from professional societies are available but adherence is not well studied, especially outside of academic centers. We aimed to determine the frequencies and factors associated with laboratory monitoring, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and esophageal varices (EV) surveillance in patients with cirrhosis.We identified 82,427 patients with cirrhosis (43,280 compensated and 39,147 decompensated) from the Truven Health MarketScan Research Database®, 2007-2016. We calculated the proportion of patients with cirrhosis with various frequencies of procedures/testing for laboratory (complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, and prothrombin time), HCC and EV surveillance. We also used multivariable logistic regression to determine factors associated with having procedures.The proportions of patients undergoing HCC surveillance (8.78%), laboratory testing (29.72%) at least every 6-12 months, or EV surveillance (10.6%) at least every 1-2 years were suboptimal. The majority did not have HCC (45.4%) or EV (80.3%) surveillance during the entire study period. On multivariable regression, age 41-55 (vs. <41) years, PPO (vs. HMO) insurance plan, specialist care (vs. primary care and other specialties), diagnosis between 2013-2016 (vs. 2007-2009), decompensated (vs. compensated) cirrhosis, NAFLD (vs. viral hepatitis), and higher Charlson’s comorbidity index were associated with significantly higher odds of undergoing procedures/testing every 6-12 months and EV surveillance every 1-2 years.Despite having modest improvement in the more recent years, routine monitoring and surveillance for patients with cirrhosis is suboptimal. Further efforts including provider awareness, patient education, and system/incentive-based quality improvement measures are urgently needed.Patients with cirrhosis should undergo health monitoring for liver complications to achieve early detection and treatment. In a large nationwide cohort of 82,427 patients with cirrhosis in the United States, we found a low rate of adherence (well less than half) to routine blood test monitoring and surveillance for liver cancer and esophageal varices (swollen blood vessels in the abdomen that could lead to fatal bleeding). Adherence has increased in the recent years, but much more improvement is needed.
Authors: Yee Hui Yeo, Jungyun Hwang, Donghak Jeong, Nolan Dang, Leslie Y Kam, Linda Henry, Haesuk Park, Ramsey Cheung, Mindie H Nguyen