We evaluated the association between alcohol intake and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in subjects with chronic viral hepatitis, using nationwide population-based cohort study.
A total of 364,361 men and women aged 40–84 years who underwent health screening examination between January 2002 and December 2013 that included assessment of frequency and amount of alcohol consumption were assessed for all-cause and cause-specific mortality.
In participants without chronic viral hepatitis, the fully adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause mortality comparing light, moderate, and heavy drinkers with nondrinkers were 0.92 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.87–0.98), 1.08 (95% CI 1.01–1.16), and 1.51 (95% CI 1.33–1.72), respectively. In participants with chronic viral hepatitis, the corresponding HRs were 1.19 (95% CI 1.05–1.36), 1.23 (95% CI 1.06–1.43), and 1.69 (95% CI 1.28–2.24), respectively (P value for alcohol intake by chronic viral hepatitis interaction <0.001). Compared with participants without chronic viral hepatitis, those with chronic viral hepatitis had substantially elevated liver cancer or liver disease (HR 10.85, 95% CI 9.74–12.09) and extrahepatic cancer mortality (HR 1.37, 95% CI 1.26–1.49). In patients with chronic viral hepatitis, the high mortality due to liver cancer or liver disease and the positive association of alcohol intake with liver cancer or liver disease mortality explained the positive association of alcohol intake with all-cause mortality.
Even light to moderate alcohol intake was associated with increased all-cause mortality in individuals with chronic viral hepatitis. Clinicians and public health campaigns should advise against any amount of alcohol intake in individuals with chronic viral hepatitis.