Effect of host-related factors on the intensity of liver fibrosis in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection

Luciano Bello Costa, Maria Lucia Gomes Ferraz, Renata M Perez, Adalgisa S Ferreira, Carla Adriana L Matos, Valéria P Lanzoni, Antônio Eduardo Silva
Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases 2002, 6 (5): 219-24
There is increasing interest in the identification of factors associated with liver disease progression in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). We assessed host-related factors associated with a histologically advanced stage of this disease and determined the rate of liver fibrosis progression in HCV-infected patients. We included patients submitted to liver biopsy, who were anti-HCV and HCV RNA positive, who showed a parenteral risk factor (blood transfusion or intravenous drug use), and who gave information about alcohol consumption. Patients were divided into two groups for analysis: group 1 - grades 0 to 2; group 2 - grades 3 to 4. The groups were compared in terms of sex, age at the time of infection, estimated duration of infection and alcoholism. The rate of fibrosis progression (index of fibrosis) was determined based on the relationship between disease stage and duration of infection (years). Logistic regression analysis revealed that age at the time of infection (P<0.01; 95% CI 1.06-1.22) and the duration of infection (P<0.01; 95% CI 1.06-1.32) were independently associated with a more advanced stage of hepatitis C. The median index of fibrosis was 0.14 for the group as a whole. A significant difference in the index of fibrosis was observed between patients aged < 40 years at infection (median = 0.11) and patients aged > or = 40 years (median = 0.47). The main factors associated with a more rapid fibrosis progression were age at the time of infection and the estimated duration of infection. Patients who acquired HCV after 40 years of age showed a higher rate of fibrosis progression.

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