Patients With Chronic Hepatitis C Report Low Life Satisfaction

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Diagnostic survey results indicated 62.7% of participating patients with hepatitis C expressed a low level of satisfaction with life.

Close-up image of doctor comforting patient with hepatitis C | Credit: Fotolia

Credit: Fotolia

More than half of patients with hepatitis C in a recent study expressed a low level of life satisfaction, especially among younger participants with a low self-assessment of their health.

Results of the study, which included 220 patients with hepatitis C from 7 centers in Poland, suggests 62.7% of surveyed patients reported a low level of life satisfaction, with just 8.7% reporting a high level of life satisfaction.1

“In the case of patients with HCV, there is a risk of deterioration of the level of satisfaction with life due to the chronically progressing course of the disease, and the risk of occurrence of cirrhosis and subsequent hepatocellular carcinoma,” wrote Lidia Elżbieta Sierpińska, MD, RN, of Military Clinical Hospital No. 1 with Polyclinic, Independent Public Health Care Unit in Lublin, Poland, who was the sole investigator of the study.1

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates 58 million people have chronic hepatitis C, with about 1.5 million new infections occurring every year.2 Additionally, the CDC suggests most people with chronic hepatitis C do not have any symptoms or have only general symptoms like chronic fatigue and depression.3 Approximately 30% of infected persons spontaneously clear the virus within 6 months of infection without treatment. However, the remaining 70% will develop chronic HCV infection.2

The present study sought to build upon prior research to develop a comprehensive assessment of the quality of life of individuals with chronic HCV. Conducted between 2014 and 2018, the study surveyed 220 patients with medically diagnosed HCV at 7 hospitals in Poland. Patients under the age of 18 and who did not have a physician-confirmed HCV diagnosis were excluded from the study.1

Participants completed a standardized author-constructed questionnaire designed in accordance with the purpose of the study and The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). For the purpose of analysis, results were interpreted according to the Standard Tens (stens) scale, with 1 to 4 considered low, 5 to 6 considered mediocre, and 7 to 10 considered high.1

Life satisfaction was evaluated through a self-assessment of dependent variables including state of health, dietary recommendations by a physician, complaints associated with pharmacotherapy, feeling of being a disabled person, treatment due to hepatitis C, and self-assessment of knowledge concerning hepatitis C. Of note, gender, age, martial status, place of residence, level of education, and occupational activity were used as independent variables in statistical models.1

Upon analysis, significant differences in the level of life satisfaction were observed according to age (P < .05). Patients aged 36-50 presented the lowest level of satisfaction with life (mean SWLS score=15.3). Respondents aged 51 to 65 years were the most likely to report a low level of satisfaction with life (28.6%), followed by those aged 36 to 50 years (20.9%), and those aged 65 years or older (9.1%). Results suggested the expressed level of satisfaction with life increased with respondent age (mean SWLS score=18.4; R=0.18; P < .05).1

Further analysis revealed lower self-assessment of health correlated with a lower level of life satisfaction (R=-0.20; P < .003). Respondents who evaluated their state of health as “poor” presented the lowest level of satisfaction with life (mean SWLS score=13.9), while patients who assessed their state of health as “good” reported the highest evaluations of their state of health among the entire study cohort (mean SWLS score=17).1

“It is important to provide information concerning the scope and magnitude of the disease and possibilities of pharmacological and dietary treatment, which are frequently translated into a higher level of satisfaction with life in the chronic disease, such as HCV,” concluded Sierpińska.1

References:

  1. Sierpińska LE. Assessment of the level of life satisfaction and health behaviors among patients with chronic hepatitis C. American Journal of Health Behavior. 2023;47(3):595-604. doi:10.5993/ajhb.47.3.17
  2. Hepatitis C. World Health Organization. July 18, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-c.
  3. What is hepatitis C - FAQ. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 28, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/cfaq.htm#D2.
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