Patients with Wilson disease (WD) stayed in the hospital longer, according to a new study published in the journal Cureus. They had higher mean hospitalization costs and mortality rates compared to patients admitted to the hospital for other reasons. Their mortality rates and length of hospital stay were significantly lower if they had had an orthotopic liver transplantation.

There is little information about the outcomes and cost burden of WD. In the present study, a team of researchers from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, led by Vinod Rustgi, MD, assessed outcomes, mortality rates, and costs associated with WD in the US. The team used data from the National Inpatient Sample database from 2007 to 2017.

Read more about the complications of WD

During this time, there were 17,713 patients with a diagnosis of WD in the database. The majority of these were female. 

The prevalence of Kayser-Fleischer rings, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and liver-related complications, such as acute hepatitis, liver failure, portal hypertension, and cirrhosis, was higher in these patients compared to other patients. They also had a higher proportion of peptic ulcer disease, connective tissue disease, and hemolytic anemia than other patients. 

Moreover, their mortality rate, length of hospital stay, and hospitalization costs were also higher than patients without WD. 

When they analyzed patients with WD more closely, the researchers found that a higher proportion of patients with WD who had undergone orthotopic liver transplantation were between 18 and 44 years of age, while the highest proportion of patients who had not undergone orthotopic liver transplantation was between ages 55 and 89 years of age.

Those who had undergone orthotopic liver transplantation had fewer comorbidities, a decreased mortality rate, and shorter hospital stays than those who had not.

“Liver transplantation offers a promising solution,” the researchers concluded, “Our findings highlight the importance of effective interventions to prevent potential complications and reduce the burden of WD on patient outcomes, healthcare utilization, and costs.”


Patel AH, Ghattu M, Mazzaferro N, et al. Demographics and outcomes related to Wilson’s disease patients: a nationwide inpatient cohort study. Cureus. Published online September 5, 2023. doi:10.7759/cureus.44714