1Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, University Health Network, Canada.
2Corresponding Author: Erin Mandel, MPH, Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, 200 Elizabeth Street 9EB 240, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
3VIRCAN Study Group, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.
4School of Nursing, York University, Toronto, Canada.
5Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada.
Objective: To evaluate uptake of hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing and treatment among psychiatry inpatients at Canada's largest mental health institution, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
Methods: We reviewed medical records for all forensic and long-stay mental health patients from January 2017 to May 2021 to examine rates of HCV testing (antibody and RNA), treatment, and follow-up and completed a logistical regression to identify predictors associated with HCV antibody (Ab) screening among inpatients.
Results: Of 1,031 patients, 73% (n = 753) were male, mean age was 44 years (range: 20-92), and mean length of stay was 7.1 months (range: 0 days-24 years). Most, 83% (n = 856), were diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. In total, 652/1,031 (63%) of individuals in this cohort received HCV Ab screening. When broken down by admission rather than individual, 570/1,303 (44%) forensic admissions had an associated HCV Ab screening, and 318/1,450 (22%) non-forensic admissions had an associated HCV Ab screening. Individuals admitted to a forensic unit and those diagnosed with schizophrenia or substance use disorders were more likely to undergo HCV Ab screening, while individuals of Asian ethnicity were less likely (all P < .05). HCV Ab positivity was 4.9%, and most (84%, n = 27) HCV Ab-positive individuals had subsequent RNA testing, of whom 56% (n = 15) tested HCV RNA positive. Of 15 RNA-positive individuals, 10 initiated treatments, 7 on-site at CAMH and 3 at a local hepatology center. A total of 7 individuals (1 treated by specialists and 6 on-site) achieved sustained virological response or cure. The remaining 3 were lost to follow-up, 2 of whom were treated at the hepatology clinic.
Conclusions: Based on the high prevalence of HCV, mental health inpatients should be included in groups for whom universal screening is recommended. Since on-site treatment was more successful than referral to external hepatology specialists, utilizing inpatient admission as an opportunity for HCV screening and treatment should receive more consideration.