Factors Influencing the Rate of Fibrosis Progression in Chronic Hepatitis C
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Alcohol consumption, age at infection, and male gender have been identified as risk factors for faster fibrosis progression in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Yet the influence of liver steatosis, light to moderate alcohol consumption, or iron overload on this progression remains controversial. To analyze the effect of individual risk factors and their interaction on fibrosis progression in a group of patients with CHC and a definite date of infection, we studied 133 consecutive untreated patients. Covariates included were age, body mass index (BMI), gender, age at infection, alcohol intake, serum lipids, glycemia, serum ALT, AST, GGT, iron, and ferritin, grade and stage (METAVIR and Scheuer), and hepatic stainable iron (Perl’s stain). The rate of fibrosis progression was inferred from the METAVIR score. By logistic regression analysis, hepatic steatosis (odds ratio [OR], 3.035; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16–7.93), serum ferritin levels higher than 290 ng/ml (OR, 5.5; 1.6–18.65), and light to moderate ethanol intake (1–50 g/day) (OR, 5.22; 1.5–17.67) were independently associated with faster fibrosis progression. There was no effect of interaction between these variables on the rate of fibrosis progression. Liver steatosis, serum ferritin levels, and light to moderate alcohol intake are associated with faster fibrosis progression in chronic hepatitis C. Combination of these factors did not further accelerate this progression. The impact of modification of these factors on progression should be tested in longitudinal studies.
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