Aim.  The aim of this study was to define the natural long-term course of HDV compensated cirrhosis.

Methods. 166 consecutive patients with compensated HDV-related cirrhosis diagnosed  since 1994 were followed up until the first decompensation and then until death, liver transplantation or 31st of December 2004. The survival during follow-up and the survival according to the type of first decompensation were calculated using the Kaplan Meier method. Survival curves were compared using the log-rank test.

Results. 56 females (33.7%) and 110 males (66.3%) with a mean age of 40.7 ± 7.9 years were included in the study. The mean Child Pugh and MELD score at the first episode of hepatic decompensation was 8.6±2.08 and 15.19±5.42, respectively. The median survival was 58.3 months since the diagnosis of compensated cirrhosis and the mean time to first decompensation was 21±19 months. The probability of survival after the diagnosis of compensated cirrhosis was 94.3%, 82.5%, and 51.5% at 1, 2, and 5 years, respectively. Ascites was the most frequent first decompensation (80.7%), followed by jaundice (30.1%), portal hypertensive gastrointestinal bleeding (PHGIB) (28.9%), hepatic encephalopathy (HE) (12%), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (12%), portal vein thrombosis (8.4%), spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), hepatorenal syndrome. 86 patients (51.8%) presented more than one complication at initial decompensation. Survival was worse in patients with jaundice and SBP (p=0.001), followed by patients with HE (p=0.05) and patients who presented more than one initial complication (p=0.03). In the multivariate survival analysis only PHGIB as first decompensation and MELD score > 15 were independent predictors of death.

Conclusion.  HDV-related cirrhosis in Romania is an aggressive disease with a median time to decompensation less than 2 years and a median survival less than 5 years. Jaundice, the main clinical consequences of portal hypertension and HCC are the most frequent causes of  decompensation and more than half the patients present two or more concomitant initial complications.



Hepatitis D virus infection, cirrhosis, natural history, survival