Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We studied the morbidity of chronic hepatitis Cin patients referred to a tertiary care medicalfacility. The medical records of 500 consecutive casesof chronic hepatitis C were examined for the following: (1) source and time of exposure, (2) signs andsymptoms of liver disease, (3) degree of alcohol intake,(4) liver biopsy findings, (5) extrahepatic diseasemanifestations, and (6) coexisting illnesses that could have an impact on morbidity. Morbidityand histologic findings were evaluated in relation tothe duration of hepatitis C. The onset of infectioncould be determined in 376 patients (75%). A close relationship between the length of infectionand disease features was not observed. Fatigue wascommon at all stages of infection. Whereas cirrhosisoccurred more frequently in patients with disease of long duration, 15-24% of patients had signs ofadvanced liver disease (ascites, encephalopathy,thrombocytopenia) within six years of exposure. Overtextrahepatic manifestations of chronic hepatitis Coccurred infrequently, and depression was reported in24% of untreated patients. In conclusion, in patientsreferred to a tertiary care setting, chronic hepatitisC is often associated with significantmorbidity.
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