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Hepatitis C

Infectious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus for which there is no vaccine and which commonly becomes chronic. Now the most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and National Library of Medicine)

About Hepatitis C Infection

Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that infects your liver. Your liver is an important organ in your body and has many functions. The liver removes harmful chemicals from your body, aids digestion, and processes vitamins and nutrients from food. The liver also makes chemicals that help your blood clot when you have a cut. You cannot live without a liver.

For some people with hepatitis C, the infection lasts only a short time, and their body is able to clear the virus. But, most people infected with hepatitis C develop chronic hepatitis C.

Chronic hepatitis C is a long-term illness that happens when the hepatitis C virus stays in your body. Most people who have chronic hepatitis C do not have symptoms for many years until the infection has started to damage their liver.

How can hepatitis C be harmful?

If hepatitis C is left untreated, over time (up to 20 years or longer... Read more about Hepatitis C

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Choice-based Conjoint Analysis -- Pilot Project to Identify, Weight, and Prioritize Multiple Attributes in the Indication "Hepatitis C" [Internet]

In this pilot project it was examined to what extent the (choice-based) Conjoint Analysis can be applied in health economic evaluations in Germany in the identification, weighting, and prioritization of multiple patient-relevant outcomes. The possibilities of application were examined using the example of chronic hepatitis C and its forms of treatment (antiviral therapy).

Isolation as a strategy for controlling the transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in haemodialysis units

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is easily transmitted intravenously, such as blood transfusions and the use of haemodialysis. It can cause a persistent infection and chronic liver disease. The frequency of HCV is higher among people on haemodialysis than the general population; and is associated with increased risk of death from heart disease and liver. We wanted to find out if the isolation of people with HCV during haemodialysis (using a different room, machines or dedicated staff, a specific shift) was effective in limiting the direct or indirect transmission of the virus to non‐infected patients.

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy associated with hepatitis C virus infection

We wanted to assess the effects of any treatment for nerve damage that occurs in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We planned to use the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

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Summaries for consumers

Isolation as a strategy for controlling the transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in haemodialysis units

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is easily transmitted intravenously, such as blood transfusions and the use of haemodialysis. It can cause a persistent infection and chronic liver disease. The frequency of HCV is higher among people on haemodialysis than the general population; and is associated with increased risk of death from heart disease and liver. We wanted to find out if the isolation of people with HCV during haemodialysis (using a different room, machines or dedicated staff, a specific shift) was effective in limiting the direct or indirect transmission of the virus to non‐infected patients.

Treatment for peripheral neuropathy associated with hepatitis C virus infection

We wanted to assess the effects of any treatment for nerve damage that occurs in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We planned to use the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Antiviral therapy for recurrent liver graft infection with hepatitis C virus

The liver is an important organ of the body and has various functions including generation of energy from food; production of material necessary for congealing, processing, and excretion of drugs and waste products in blood; and filtering out the harmful bacteria that enter the body through the gut. Hepatitis C virus can cause damage to the liver usually in an insidious manner (chronic hepatitis C infection). Sometimes, the liver damage can be so severe that the liver is not able to carry out the normal functions, resulting in liver failure. Liver transplantation is an effective treatment for the treatment of liver failure due to chronic hepatitis C infection. However, liver transplantation does not eradicate the virus and the virus can affect the donor liver graft. One of the proposed strategies to treat the recurrence of chronic hepatitis C virus infection in these patients is using antiviral treatments. The effectiveness of these treatments is not known. We performed a detailed review of the medical literature (to February 2013) to determine the benefits and harms of different antiviral treatments for patients with recurrent hepatitis C infection after undergoing liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis C virus infection. We sought evidence from randomised clinical trials only. When conducted properly, such trials provide the best evidence. Two authors independently identified the trials and obtained the information from the trials to minimise error.

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More about Hepatitis C

Photo of a young adult

Also called: Hepatitis C infection, Hep C, Viral hepatitis C, HCV infection

Other terms to know:
Cirrhosis, Liver Cancer, Viruses

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