OBJECTIVES:Alcohol abuse and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are the major etiologic factors for chronic liver diseasecirrhosis (CLD) in the United States. These CLD risk factors are highly prevalent in US adult incarcerated populations, but CLD-related mortality data from these populations are lacking. The primary objective of this study was to assess CLD-related mortality over time and across categories of race-ethnicity from 1989 through 2003 among male inmates in the Texas state prison system. The secondary objective was to examine patterns of recorded underlying, intervening, and contributing causes of death for CLD-related deaths.METHODS:Prisoner decedent data were linked with Texas Vital Statistics multiple-cause-of-death data. Deaths were considered CLD-related if CLD or common sequelae were recorded as the underlying, intervening, or contributing causes of death. CLD-related crude annual death rates, 5-year average annual death rates, and average annual percentage changes were estimated.RESULTS:Among male Texas prisoners from 1989 to 2003, CLD-related deaths accounted for 16 of deaths (6884,316). CLD-related crude annual death rates were high and increased over the study period by an average of 4.5 annually, with similar rate increases across categories of race-ethnicity. CLD-related average annual death rates were higher among Hispanic prisoners than among black prisoners in each 5-year period, and were higher than those for white prisoners in the 1994-1998 and 1999-2003 periods. HBV or HCV was identified as a causal factor in more than a third (34) of CLD-related deaths.CONCLUSIONS:From 1989 to 2003, CLD-related death rates among male Texas prisoners were high and increased over time, particularly among Hispanics. Targeted prevention, screening, and treatment of CLD risk factors, especially HCV, and early detection and treatment of CLD should be considered as priorities of the US prison healthcare systems.
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