The Impact of Chronic Hepatitis C and Co-Morbid Illnesses on Health-Related Quality of Life

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OBJECTIVES: Determine the relative impact of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and co-morbid illnesses on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in 3023 randomly selected veterans with known hepatitis C virus antibody (anti-HCV) status who previously completed a veteran-specific HRQoL questionnaire (SF-36V).

METHODS: Multiple regression analyses were performed to measure the relative contribution of anti-HCV status, four demographic variables, and ten common medical and six psychiatric co-morbidities to HRQoL between 303 anti-HCV(+) and 2720 anti-HCV(-) patients.

RESULTS: Anti-HCV(+) veterans were younger, reported a lower HRQoL on seven of eight 36-Item Short Form Health Survey for Veterans (SF-36V) subscales (P < or = 0.001) and the mental component summary (MCS) scale (P < 0.001). The ten medical and six psychiatric co-morbidities had variable impact on predicting lower HRQoL in both groups. After adjusting for demographic variables and co-morbid illnesses, we found that anti-HCV(+) patients reported a significantly lower MCS score (P < 0.001) and a trend toward a lower physical component summary (PCS) score (P < 0.07) compared to anti-HCV(-) veterans. Among the anti-HCV(+) veterans, co-morbid medical illnesses contributed to impaired PCS but not to MCS.

CONCLUSIONS : Veterans with CHC were younger than HCV(-) veterans and hence less likely to have other co-morbid medical illnesses. Medical co-morbidities seen in those veterans with CHC contribute to impaired PCS but not MCS. Anti-HCV(+) status negatively affects HRQoL, particularly MCS, independently of medical and psychiatric co-morbidities.

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