Objectives: To demonstrate the survival benefit from sustained virological response (SVR) in a safety net hospital population with limited resources for hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy. Design and setting: We conducted a retrospective study at an urban safety net hospital in the USA. Participants and intervention: 242 patients receiving standard HCV therapy between 2001 and 2006. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Response rates, including SVR, were recorded for each patient. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of SVR and 5-year survival. Results: A total of 242 eligible patients were treated. Treatment was completed in 197 (81%) patients, with 43 patients discontinuing therapy early-32 due to adverse events and 11 due to non-compliance. Complications on treatment were frequent, including three deaths. SVR was achieved in 83 patients (34%). On multivariate analysis, independent predictors of a decreased likelihood of achieving SVR included African-American race (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.54), genotype 1 HCV infection (OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.50) and the presence of cirrhosis (OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.58). Survival was 98% in those achieving SVR (median follow-up 72 months) and 71 % in non-responders and those discontinuing therapy (n=91, median known follow-up 65 and 36 months, respectively). On multivariate analysis, the only independent predictor of improved survival was SVR (HR 0.12, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.52). Both cirrhosis and hypoalbuminaemia were independent predictors of increased mortality. Conclusions: Treatment before histological cirrhosis develops, in combination with careful selection, may improve long-term outcomes without compromising other healthcare endeavours in safety net hospitals and areas with financial limitations.
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