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Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Jun;11(6):741-7.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.01.023. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Therapy for hepatitis C virus infection increases survival of patients with pretreatment anemia.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Individuals with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and pretreatment anemia are less likely to begin and complete a full course of treatment for HCV. However, among those who are treated for HCV infection, the effect of treatment on mortality is not clear.


We performed a retrospective analysis of 200,139 HCV-infected veterans using data from the Electronically Retrieved Cohort of Hepatitis C-Infected veterans (2001-2008). The effects of treatment and treatment duration on survival were compared based on data from 1820 treated and 27,690 untreated anemic HCV-infected veterans. The association between HCV treatment and mortality was estimated using the Cox proportional hazard models, with adjustments for potential confounders. The main outcome was all-cause mortality.


In multivariable analysis, pretreatment anemia was associated significantly with African American race (odds ratio [OR], 2.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.95-2.11), chronic kidney disease (OR, 3.36; 95% CI, 3.23-3.51), and decompensated liver disease (OR, 3.69; 95% CI, 3.53-3.86). All-cause mortality for treated, anemic, HCV-infected veterans was lower (54.2 per 1000 person-years; 95% CI, 49.2-59.7 per 1000 person years) than for untreated, anemic HCV-infected veterans (146.8 per 1000 person-years; 95% CI, 144.2-149.4 per 1000 person-years). The adjusted hazard ratio for treatment of HCV in anemic veterans was 0.45 (95% CI, 0.39-0.51), which was reduced after exclusion of comorbidities (hazard ratio, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.22-0.37).


Based on a retrospective analysis of a veterans database, HCV therapy increases survival rates of individuals with pretreatment anemia. Additional studies are needed to determine strategies to increase rates of HCV therapy for this group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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