Women are less likely to die of liver cirrhosis than men, say researchers, adding that this chronic liver disease affects both men and women equally.
Prior studies have suggested women might have higher mortality of cirrhosis of the liver than men. Women are also less likely to receive liver transplantation.
“We knew that women are not receiving liver transplants at the same rate as men, but we did not know if liver cirrhosis leads to more death in women than in men,” said lead author Dr Daniela Ladner, Associate Professor at Northwestern University in the US.
For the findings, published in the Journal of Hepatology, the research team analysed a cohort of 20,045 patients with cirrhosis using a Chicago-wide electronic health record database.
Cirrhosis is a leading cause of death estimated to affect more than four million people in the US. Although alcohol is a top cause of liver disease, most patients with cirrhosis do not have alcohol-related liver disease.
The study showed women with cirrhosis have lower overall mortality but no difference in the liver-related cause of death despite a lower rate of liver transplantation compared to men.
“The important takeaway should be that men and women should be treated similarly as their cirrhosis-related risk is the same,” Ladner said.
The researchers noted population-based studies are important to truly understand the risks to different subgroups within the population.
The reasons for the past uncertainty is men and women have different causes of liver disease, different severities of liver disease and a different mix of other health conditions, the study said.
“The research is part of an ongoing push to make sure that patients are treated fairly and equitably in medicine. In many areas, it is increasingly shown that women are disadvantaged,” Ladner added.