5 Scopus citations


Context: Little is known about receipt of specialty-level palliative care by people with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or its impact on health care utilization. Objectives: Identify patient characteristics associated with receipt of specialty-level palliative care among hospitalized HCC patients and measure association with time to readmission. Methods: We used logistic regression to examine relationships between receipt of inpatient palliative care consultation by HCC patients at an academic center (N = 811; 2012–2016) and clinical and demographic covariates at index hospitalization. We used a survival analysis model accounting for competing risk of mortality to compare time to readmission among individuals who did or did not receive palliative care during the admission and performed a sensitivity analysis using kernel weights to account for selection bias. Results: Overall, 16% received inpatient palliative care consults. Those who received consults had worse laboratory values than those who did not. In a multivariable model, higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease Sodium, receipt of sorafenib, and higher pain scores were significantly associated with increased odds of palliative care, whereas liver transplantation and admission to a surgical service were associated with lower odds. For time to readmission (2076 hospitalizations for 811 individuals with 175 palliative care visits), the subhazard ratio for readmission for patients who received consults was 0.26 (95% CI = 0.18–0.38) and 0.35 (95% CI = 0.24–0.52) with a kernel-weighted sample. Conclusion: Inpatient palliative care consultation was received by individuals with more advanced disease and associated with lower readmission hazard. These findings support further research and the development of HCC-specific programs that increase access to specialty-level palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-947.e3
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Palliative care
  • end-stage liver disease
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • hospital readmission
  • supportive oncology


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