Abstract: Indigenous Australians experience greater health disadvantage and have a higher prevalence of many chronic health conditions.
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians experience greater social and health disadvantage and have a higher prevalence of many chronic health conditions including liver disease. The complex interplay of socio-environmental factors (e.g. financial stress, food insecurity, substandard and overcrowded housing, remoteness of residence) and racism, contribute to the high burden of chronic health conditions among Indigenous Australians.
Objective: In this article, the researchers assessed differences in presentation and patient outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians hospitalised for cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to understand why hospitalization for cirrhosis is more frequent for Indigenous people in the state of Queensland.
Importance of study: Liver diseases leading to cirrhosis are among the most common contributor to the mortality gap between Indigenous and other Australian adults. However, no comparative data exist assessing differences in presentation and patient outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians hospitalised with cirrhosis.
Study type: Data and cohort study.
Methods: Using data from the Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection and the Death Registry, this retrospective, population-based, cohort study including all people hospitalised for cirrhosis in the state of Queensland during 2008–2017 examined rate of readmission, cumulative survival, and assessed the differences in survival by Indigenous status. Predictor variables included demographic, health service characteristics and clinical data.
Conclusion: There was evidence of differential presentation, higher rates of readmissions, and poorer survival for Indigenous Australians with cirrhosis, compared to other Australians. The increased prevalence of Emergency Department presentation among Indigenous patients suggests missed opportunities for early intervention to prevent progressive cirrhosis complications and hospital readmissions.