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Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Oct;52(10):2531-9. Epub 2007 Apr 4.

Fatigue and health-related quality of life (HRQL) in chronic hepatitis C virus infection.

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  • 1Center for Liver Diseases at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, 3289 Woodburn Road, Suite 375, Annandale, Virginia 22003, USA.


In addition to chronic hepatitis, many individuals infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) suffer from fatigue, which may compromise their health-related quality of life (HRQL). To assess systematically health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with chronic hepatitis C and to determine if any clinical, biochemical, virologic, demographic, and histologic features are associated with HRQL status. In this cross-sectional observational study, one hundred thirty patients with chronic HCV infection (HCV RNA positive by PCR) and 61 healthy controls were enrolled from a tertiary care teaching medical center. All patients and controls completed one generic HRQL questionnaire (MOS SF-36) and one liver-disease specific instrument (Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire, CLDQ). Ninety-five HCV patients and all the controls also completed a fatigue questionnaire (Chronic Fatigue Screener, CFS) and had immunologic markers determined (Cryoglobulin, Soluble IL-2 receptors, Rheumatoid Factor). We compared the HRQL of HCV-infected patients to the controls and, using data from other studies, to the general population, patients with diabetes, and patients with chronic low back pain. Patients with chronic HCV had greater HRQL impairment than healthy controls and those with type II diabetes. Fatigue was the most important symptom with negative impact on HRQL. Sixty-one percent of HCV-infected patients reported fatigue-related loss of activity. Additionally, other factors associated with HRQL were gender and histologic cirrhosis. Chronic HCV infection has a profound negative impact on patients' HRQL. Disabling fatigue is the most important factor that contributes to loss of well-being in this relatively young group of patients.

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