High Red Cell Distribution Width and Low Absolute Lymphocyte Count Associate With Subsequent Mortality in HCV Infection

Main Article Content

Sofi Damjanovska
Perica Davitkov
Surya Gopal
Lenche Kostadinova
Corrine Kowal
Alyssa Lange
Anita Moreland
Carey L. Shive
Brigid Wilson
Taissa Bej
Sadeer Al-Kindi
Yngve Falck-Ytter
David A. Zidar
Donald D. Anthony

Abstract

Background: Hepatitis-C virus (HCV) chronic infection can lead to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), end-stage liver disease, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and mortality. Transient Elastography (TE) is used to non-invasively assess fibrosis. Whether immune monitoring provides additive prognostic value is not established. Increased red-cell distribution width (RDW) and decreased absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) predict mortality in those without liver disease. Whether these relationships remain during HCV infection is unknown. 


Materials and Methods: A retrospective cohort of 1,715 single-site VA Liver Clinic patients receiving Transient Elastography (TE) 2014-2019 to evaluate HCV-associated liver damage were evaluated for RDW and ALC in relation to traditional parameters of cardiovascular risk, liver health, development of HCC, and mortality.


Results: The cohort was 97% male, 55% African American, 26% with diabetes mellitus, 67% with hypertension, and 66% with tobacco use. After TE, 3% were subsequently diagnosed with HCC, and 12% (n=208) died. Most deaths (n=189) were due to non-liver causes. The TE score associated with prevalent CVD positively correlated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) 10-Year Risk Score, age, RDW, and negatively correlated with ALC. Patients with anisocytosis (RDW above 14%) or lymphopenia (ALC level under 1.2x109/L) had greater subsequent all-cause mortality, even after adjusting for age, TE score, and comorbidities. TE score, and to a modest degree RDW, were associated with subsequent liver-associated mortality, while TE score, RDW, and ALC were each independently associated with non-liver cause of death.


Conclusion: Widely available mortality calculators generally require multiple pieces of clinical information. RDW and ALC, parameters collected on a single laboratory test that is commonly performed, prior to HCV therapy may be pragmatic markers of long-term risk of mortality. 

Article Details

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Articles
Author Biography

Donald D. Anthony, Department of Medicine, Cleveland VA Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University; Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; Department of Medicine, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH

  • B.S. : Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University, 1982-1986
  • M.D./ Ph.D. : Case Western Reserve University, 1986-1993
  • Internship & Residency : Internal Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, 1993-1996
  • Fellowship : Rheumatology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, 1996-1999

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