Российское сообщество больных Гепатитом С



Current studies indicate that most (80%) people infected with hepatitis C will develop a chronic state of infection. About 30% those with chronic infection will go on to develop cirrhosis of the liver. The disease appears to progress slowly, symptoms often do not appear for ten or twenty years.

After an average follow-up of 18 years, a prospective study of patients who received blood transfusions showed no difference in overall mortality between HCV-infected cases and noninfected controls. Liver-related mortality, though rare, was twice as high in the cases (3.2 percent vs. 1.5 percent). A European study showed survival among HCV patients with compensated cirrhosis was 91 percent at 5 years and 79 percent after 10 years. Among patients developing decompensated cirrhosis, however, 5-year survival was only 50 percent. - National Institutes of Health Statement on Hepatitis C 1997

The latest study shows that incidences of hepatocellular cancer due to hepatitis C and deaths caused by hepatitis C are almost double the rate given a few years ago. An article in the July issue of Gut reveals that ‘“of the 416 patients, 60 developed HCC with a 5-year rate of 13.4%...and 83 died (including 34 with HCC), with a 5-year death rate of 15.3%.’ According to the authors, these results contrast with previous studies, which cite 5-year mortality rates of 9%, and HCC rates of 5% or 7%.”

The overall severity of chronic hepatitis C is controversial. There is no question that HCV can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and that end-stage chronic hepatitis C is now the leading indication for liver transplantation. At question is how frequently and how soon these serious consequences occur.

A controlled prospective study (Seeff) has shown that after 20 years of follow-up, patients with transfusion associated hepatitis C had no increase in overall mortality and only a slight increase in liver-related mortality compared to controls who did not develop hepatitis. Another prospective study (Koretz) has shown that the probability of developing clinical cirrhosis or liver related mortality was 20% and 5%, respectively after 16 years; comparable values were 24% and 3% in the NIH series. The paradox between the relatively benign mortality figures and the observed fatal outcomes resides in the indolent nature of progressive HCV infection.

Progression is generally measured in decades and most subjects acquiring infection in mid-life or later will succumb to their underlying disease or old age before they develop end-stage chronic hepatitis C. By inference, it appears that the HCV mortality risk is approximately 4% in the first two decades and the risk will increase over time in those that do not succumb to other events. “Natural History and Clinical Aspects of HCV Infection.” H.J. Alter. Department of Transfusion Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Cancer Biotechnology Weekly, 01-29-1996, pp 20.



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