Which factors affect the risk of liver morbidity in chronic hepatitis C (hep C) infection?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: Vinod K Dhawan, MD, FACP, FRCPC, FIDSA; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Viral load suppression reduces the risk of hepatitis C liver morbidity and mortality. In an observational study of Veterans Affairs (VA) HCV clinical registry data from 128,769 patients that spanned more than a decade, researchers found that those who achieved an undetectable HCV viral load had a decreased risk of subsequent liver morbidity and death. [78, 79] Viral load suppression reduced the risk for future liver events by 27% (eg, compensated/decompensated cirrhosis, HCC, or liver-related hospitalization) as well as reduced the risk of death by 45%, relative to patients who did not achieve viral load suppression. Among the entire study population, only 24% had been treated previously for HCV; of these patients, only 16% (4% of all patients) achieved an undetectable viral load. [78, 79]

Patient race/ethnicity and HCV genotypes also affected the risk of future liver events and death. The risk for all liver events and death was higher in white patients relative to black patients, and those with HCV genotype 3 had a higher risk for all study outcomes compared to patients who had HCV genotype 2 (lowest risk) or genotype 1. [78, 79]

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