Insurance Status But Not Race and Ethnicity Are Associated With Outcomes in a Large Hospitalized Cohort of Patients With Cirrhosis

Jasmohan S. Bajaj, Jacqueline G. O'Leary, Puneeta Tandon, Florence Wong, Patrick S. Kamath, Scott W. Biggins, Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, Jennifer Lai, Michael B. Fallon, Paul J. Thuluvath, Hugo E. Vargas, Benedict Maliakkal, Ram M. Subramanian, Leroy R. Thacker, K. Rajender Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aims: Insurance, race, and ethnicity can affect outcomes of patients with cirrhosis, but findings from prospective studies are unclear. We investigated the role of insurance status and race and ethnicity (race/ethnicity) on inpatient and 90-day postdischarge outcomes in a large inpatient cohort of patients with cirrhosis. Methods: We used data from the North American Consortium for the Study of End-Stage Liver Disease (NACSELD) database, from 13 tertiary care centers. Insurance status (uninsured, Medicare, Medicaid, private, and Canadian), race, and ethnicity, were analyzed independent of clinical covariates for their association with transfer to the intensive care unit, acute on chronic liver failure (ACLF), length of hospital stay, inpatient and 90-day death or liver transplantation, and readmission to the hospital within 90 days. Multi-variable analyses and interaction terms were created for insurance, race/ethnicity, and for each outcome, with or without Canadian patients. Results: We analyzed data from 2640 patients in the NACSELD database (971 with private insurance, 770 with Medicare, 456 Canadians, 265 with Medicaid, 178 uninsured, 540 non-Caucasian and 220 Hispanic); 23% required admittance to the intensive care unit, 12% developed NACSELD-defined ACLF, 7% died, 5% underwent liver transplantation. Of the 2288 patients discharged from hospital, 13% underwent liver transplantation, 19% died, and 42% were readmitted within 90 days. In the univariate model, uninsured patients accounted for the highest percentage of alcohol- or bleeding-related admissions and the lowest proportion of outpatient cirrhosis-related medication users. Canadians had the lowest rifaximin use and but higher proportions had hepatic encephalopathy, compared with other groups. Lack of insurance was higher among non-Caucasians, regardless of Hispanic ethnicity. In multi-variable analysis, lack of insurance was associated with ACLF (P = .02) and inversely associated with inpatient liver transplant (P = .05) and 90-day liver transplant (P = .02), regardless of whether Canadians were included or specific insurance type. Race or ethnicity were not significantly associated with outcomes. Conclusions: In analyzing the NACSELD database, we found that insurance status, but not race or ethnicity, were independently associated with ACLF and inpatient or 90-day liver transplantation, regardless of inclusion of Canadian patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-572.e5
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Caucasian
  • Hepatic
  • Hispanic
  • Mortality
  • Readmissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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