Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitalizations with hepatocellular carcinoma in the United States.

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BACKGROUND: We studied the temporal trends of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)-related hospitalizations and potential predictors of in-hospital mortality around the COVID-19 pandemic.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Using the International Classification of Diseases code, we used the National Inpatient Sample 2019-2020 and defined HCC and its underlying etiology. To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitalization and in-hospital mortality, the study period was divided into the pre-COVID-19 era (2019 Q1-2020 Q1) and the COVID-19 era (2020 Q2-2020 Q4). Quarterly trends in etiology-based hospitalizations with HCC and predictors of in-hospital mortality among hospitalizations with HCC were determined.

RESULTS: Hospitalization rates for HCC, as well as viral hepatitis-related HCC hospitalization rates, remained stable, while hospitalizations with alcohol-related liver disease (ALD, quarterly percentage change [QPC]: 2.1%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.1%-4.2%) increased steadily. Hospitalization related to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)-related HCC increased significantly steeper in the COVID-19 era (QPC: 6.6%; 95% CI: 4.0%-9.3%) than in the pre-COVID-19 era (QPC: 0.7%; 95% CI: 0.2%-1.3%). COVID-19 infection was independently associated with in-hospital mortality among hospitalizations with HCC (odds ratio: 1.94, 95% CI: 1.30-2.88).

CONCLUSION: Hospitalization rates for viral hepatitis-related HCC remained stable, while those for HCC due to ALD and NAFLD increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol





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