Extrahepatic manifestations of chronic viral hepatitis

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2001 Feb;3(1):71-8. doi: 10.1007/s11894-001-0044-1.


Hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) viruses are well-recognized causes for chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and even for hepatocellular carcinoma. Apart from liver disease, these viral infections are known to be associated with a spectrum of extrahepatic manifestations. The prevalence of clinically significant extrahepatic manifestations is relatively low, but it can be associated with significant morbidity and even mortality. An awareness and recognition of these manifestations is of paramount importance in facilitating early diagnosis and in offering treatment. However, treatments are not necessarily effective, and patients may continue with disabling extrahepatic manifestations. Hepatitis B virus has been well recognized as causing a variety of manifestations that include skin rash, arthritis, arthralgia, glomerulonephritis, polyarteritis nodosa, and papular acrodermatitis. More recently, infection with hepatitis C virus has elicited considerable interest for its role in a spectrum of extrahepatic manifestations. Among the best-reported are cryoglobulinemia, glomerulonephritis, high titer of autoantibodies, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, lichen planus, Mooren's corneal ulcer, Sjögren's syndrome, porphyria cutanea tarda, and necrotizing cutaneous vasculitis. The precise pathogenesis of these extrahepatic complications has not been determined, although the majority represent the clinical expression of autoimmune phenomena.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryoglobulinemia / etiology
  • Glomerulonephritis / etiology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / etiology
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / epidemiology
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / pathology
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda / etiology
  • Prognosis