JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Factors associated with the severity of liver damage in chronic hepatitis C]

Ivonne Orellana N, Jaime Poniachik T, Gladys Smok S, Ana María Madrid S, Alejandra Menéndez A, Eduardo Tobar A, Javier Brahm B
Revista Médica de Chile 2005, 133 (11): 1311-6
16446854

BACKGROUND: Twenty percent of patients with chronic hepatitis C evolve to cirrhosis in 10 to 20 years. The degree of steatosis and hepatic iron stores in liver biopsy increase the risk. Age, high body mass index, diabetes mellitus and alcohol consumption are factors associated to the severity of liver damage.

AIM: To study the association of steatosis and increased iron stores in the liver biopsy and age, overweight, alcohol consumption and diabetes with the severity of liver damage in patients with hepatitis C virus infection.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Retrospective study of 84 liver biopsies of patients with chronic infection with hepatitis C virus were studied. The pathological appearance was classified as stage I when chronic hepatitis with mild activity without fibrosis was observed; as stage II when moderate chronic hepatitis with mild fibrosis was observed and as stage III when there was a moderate chronic hepatitis with fibrosis or cirrhosis. The amount of steatosis and iron deposition in the biopsy were also assessed.

RESULTS: Forty one percent of patients were in stage I, 32% in stage II and 27% in stage III. Patients in stage I were younger than those in stages II and III (40.7 and 52.2 years respectively, p <0,001). No association between the severity of liver damage and the degree of steatosis, hemosiderosis, body mass index or alcohol intake, was observed. The frequency of diabetes mellitus increased along with pathological staging (3, 15 and 30% in stages I, II and III, respectively, p <0,05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that severity of chronic hepatitis C is associated with age and the presence of diabetes mellitus.

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