Subject: Death certificates. Yuck. But here goes anyway. According to two national (non-VA) studies, death comes calling more often in the guise of HCV than death certificates reflect. And the conclusions drawn from them must have those in government unnerved.
Link: From the CDC: Mortality Among Persons in Care With Hepatitis C Virus Infection: The Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS), 2006–2010: February 12, 2014
Researchers looked at health records from patients who had died of HCV from four US healthcare systems. Then they compared them with their death certificates. Despite confirmed chronic HCV infection, only 19% of decedents had HCV infection listed on their death certificates. For decedents who had a liver transplant before death, HCV was listed only listed on 29% of death certificates.
As there were 16,622 death certificates in the United States listing HCV as an underlying or contributing cause of death in 2010, we extrapolate that only one-fifth of persons with HCV who die are having HCV recorded on their death certificates. Thus, our analysis suggests that at least 80,000 persons with HCV may have actually died in 2010.
HCV-infected persons also died prematurely at around 59 years instead of 74 years in the general population. The authors say that people are dying from HCV rather than just with HCV.
The second study wanted to determine the cause of death in NYC decedents infected with HCV.
LINK: NYC Deaths Among People With Hepatitis C in New York City, 2000–2011
They also found that New Yorkers died prematurely (median age 60). Now here comes a major understatement: “The short interval between HCV report and death suggests a need for earlier testing and improved treatment.”
Cardiovascular disease seems to be a major “side effect” of HCV infection in NYC’s diverse population. “Decedents with HCV monoinfection died from cardiovascular causes (26.3%), followed by nonliver cancer (16.1%), hepatitis C (11.6%), liver cancer (8.7%), and drug-related causes” on their death records.
As a native New Yorker, I can affirm that city folk walk a lot and that’s great for healthy hearts. Clearly the association between HCV and heart disease should be looked into further and death certificates need improvements. The full-text articles referred to are free to read by clicking the underlined links above.
Civilians and veterans in the boomer cohort need some answers and closure about this epidemic, and please, don’t blame dancing to rock music at Woodstock with “flowers in our hair” or cannabis as causal because no one is buying that nonsense.