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Gastroenterol Nurs. 2001 Jul-Aug;24(4):169-75; quiz 176-7.

Chronic hepatitis C. Implications for health-related quality of life.

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School of Nursing, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, Box 357266, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Hepatitis C viral infection with its sequelae is a significant healthcare problem. Hepatitis C infects nearly 4 million Americans with almost half of these unaware of their infection. Many of those individuals infected with hepatitis C develop chronic hepatitis C and in 15% of these patients, the infection will progress to cirrhosis within 20 years. Several cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have demonstrated the negative impact of chronic hepatitis C on health-related quality of life. This review describes what is currently known about the impact of chronic hepatitis C on health-related quality of life during pharmacologic treatment and after liver transplantation. It is important to note that few studies have prospectively followed patients over time with respect to quality of life or examined other factors including symptoms, markers of disease progression, or host immune function. Studies suggest that patients with chronic hepatitis C, even without major disease-related complications, perceive themselves to be unwell and have significant changes in their physical and mental well being. Such results have important implications for nursing care and management. Intervention studies focused on self-care management with an emphasis on symptom reduction are warranted.

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