Women on the liver transplantation waitlist are at increased risk of hospitalization compared to men.
Background: Hospital admissions are common among patients with cirrhosis, but patient factors associated with hospitalization have not been well characterized. Given recent data suggesting increased liver transplant waitlist dropout among women, we hypothesized that women on the liver transplant waitlist would have increased rates of hospitalization compared with men.
Aim: To evaluate the role of gender on risk of hospitalization for patients on the liver transplant waitlist, in order to help explain gender disparities in waitlist outcomes.
Methods: Patients listed for liver transplant at a single center in the United States were prospectively enrolled in the Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation Study. Patients included in this retrospective analysis included those enrolled between March 2012 and December 2014 with at least 12 mo of follow up and without hepatocellular carcinoma. The primary and secondary outcomes were hospitalization and total inpatient days within 12 mo, respectively. Logistic and negative binomial regression associated baseline factors with outcomes.
Results: Of the 392 patients, 41% were female, with median (interquartile range) age 58 years (52-63) and model for end- stage liver disease 18 (15-22). Within 12 mo, 186 (47%) patients were hospitalized ≥ 1 time; 48% were readmitted, with a median of 8 (4-15) inpatient days. More women than men were hospitalized (54% vs 43%; P = 0.03). In univariable analysis, female sex was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization [odds ratios (OR) 1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-2.4; P = 0.03], which remained significant on adjusted multivariable analysis (OR 1.6, 95%CI: 1.1-2.6; P = 0.03). Female gender was also associated with an increased number of inpatient days within 12 mo in both univariable and multivariable regression.
Conclusion: Women with cirrhosis on the liver transplant waitlist have more hospitalizations and inpatient days in one year compared with men, suggesting that the experience of cirrhosis differs between men and women, despite similar baseline illness severity. Future studies should explore gender-specific vulnerabilities to help explain waitlist disparities.