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Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun;101(6):1260-7.

Hepatitis C in 6,865 patients 65 yr or older: a severe and neglected curable disease?

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1
Services d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, Group Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrièe, Paris, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Few data are available on chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in elderly patients. The aim of this study was to compare the features and severity of CHC and the efficacy/safety of antiviral therapy in patients<65, between 65 and 80, and >80 yr old, and to determine the usefulness of biochemical markers (Fibrotest-Fibrosure/ActiTest [FT-AT]) in aged patients.

METHODS:

This was a retrospective study with two groups of patients: Group 1: prospective cohort including all hepatitis C virus patients from our institution (N=4,182); Group 2: all consecutive patients who had FT-AT performed in France between 2002 and 2004 (N=33,738).

RESULTS:

A total of 6,865 patients>or=65 yr old was included (Group 1=881, Group 2=5,984). Group 1: patients>or=65 had a longer duration of and a higher age at infection, more genotype 1, and a history of transfusion (p<0.001). Among the 2,169 patients who underwent liver biopsy, bridging fibrosis (F2,F3,F4) was more frequent in patients>or=65 yr old, regardless of the duration of infection. In multivariate analysis, ages at biopsy and at infection were associated with F2,F3,F4. Discovery of CHC by a complication was more frequent in patients>or=65 yr (p<0.001). One hundred seventy patients>or=65 yr received antiviral therapy. A sustained virologic response was obtained in 45% of patients>or=65 yr treated with pegylated interferon/ribavirin. Group 2: At FT, 58% of patients>80 yr, 37% of patients between 65 and 80 yr, and 14% of patients<65 yr (p<0.001) had cirrhosis. Patients>80 yr (43%) with cirrhosis had nonelevated alanine amino transferase (ALT), compared with 31% of patients<65 yr (p<0.001).

CONCLUSION:

In patients>or=65 yr, CHC is more severe and presents with lower ALT than in younger patients. Treatment is effective. Biochemical markers seem particularly useful as a noninvasive alternative to liver biopsy in this population.

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