Etiologies of chronic liver diseases in Hong Kong

Konrad Tang-Tat Fung, James Fung, Ching-Lung Lai, Man-Fung Yuen
European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2007, 19 (8): 659-64

BACKGROUND: In Hong Kong, chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is endemic with a prevalence rate of 8.8%. Data, however, on chronic hepatitis C infection and other nonviral causes of chronic liver disease (CLD) are limited.

AIM: To investigate the spectrum of CLDs in Hong Kong.

METHODS: Records of all patients attending the Hepatology Clinic of Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, in 2004 were reviewed to identify those with CLDs and their underlying causes.

RESULTS: A total of 6106 patients were found to have CLD. CHB accounted for 89.4% of the cases, followed by chronic hepatitis C infection (5.1%). Nonviral causes accounted for the remaining 5.5% [alcoholic liver disease (ALD) (1.7%), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (1.5%), primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) (1.3%)]. Patients with CHB and Wilson's disease were significantly younger than patients with other causes (P<0.002). More than 90% of patients with autoimmune hepatitis and PBC were women. The prevalence of CHB infection was lower in patients with PBC than the general population. Among patients with ALD, the prevalence rate was higher for chronic hepatitis C but similar for CHB, as compared with the general population.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite universal HBV vaccination since 1988, CHB remains the commonest cause of CLD in Hong Kong. PBC and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease were not rare in the Chinese population, being important causes of nonviral liver disease. The prevalence of chronic viral infection among patients with PBC or ALD confirmed the findings of other published literatures.

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