Cureus. 2021 Aug 29;13(8):e17534. doi: 10.7759/cureus.17534. eCollection 2021 Aug.
Background and aim Since individuals in the early stages of liver cirrhosis are typically asymptomatic, the prevalence of liver cirrhosis may be underestimated. Liver cirrhosis has a significant morbidity and mortality rate, with 1.03 million deaths worldwide each year. For end-stage liver disease, liver transplantation is a potential therapeutic option. The goal of our research was to examine the current trend in liver transplants using data from a national database. Methods Using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-9 codes, we identified individuals who had a liver transplant during the index hospital admission in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2007 to 2011. This national sample of patients is from the United States. We looked at the yearly trend in liver transplants and related outcomes, such as duration of hospitalization (DOH), hospital expenses, and mortality in the hospital. In order to find determinants of mortality, we used a multivariate analysis. Results There were 25,331 patients hospitalized (weighted for national estimate). Between 2007 and 2011, the number of transplants grew by 1.2%. The majority of transplant recipients were Caucasian (57%), with an average age of 54 years, had a private healthcare plan (53%), and had average earnings in the upper quartile by zip code (26%). Patients with a higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (79% had a score of four) were more likely to be admitted to a southern hospital (33%), an academic hospital (>99%), and a large capacity hospital (90%). Seventy percent of liver transplant recipients received cadaver donors. Hepatitis C was the most prevalent reason for transplant (30%), followed by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (29%) and alcoholic liver disease (25%). In 2011, compared to 2007, there was an upward rise in fatality (from 3.8% to 5.1%), average hospital expenditures (from $335,504 to $498,369), and DOH (from 17.4 to 22.7 days). The cost of hospitalization was two billion dollars per year. The independent variables related to an increased mortality on multivariate analysis were African American race (OR: 2.0, 95%, CI: 1.2-3.2; p=0.005) and large capacity hospitals (OR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.6-4.1; p=0.0002). Predictors linked to lower mortality included private healthcare coverage (vs. Medicare: OR: 0.7, 95%, CI: 0.51-0.97; p=0.03), academic hospital (OR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4-0.8; p=0.005), cadaver donor (OR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.5-0.8; p=0.002), HCC (OR: 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4-0.9; p=0.01), and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) cirrhosis (OR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.9; p=0.02). Conclusion Our study found an increasing trend in worse outcomes (increased mortality, average hospital costs, and average DOH) after a liver transplant. Patients of the African American race and large capacity hospitals were associated with a higher risk of death, whereas private healthcare plans, academic hospitals, cadaver donors, HCC, and NASH cirrhosis were associated with a lower risk.