Background and aims: Hepatic steatosis is a histological characteristic in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of hepatic steatosis in Chinese patients with chronic hepatitis C, and to look for possible correlation with various histopathological changes and to look for possible correlation with various clinical and pathologic variables.
Methods: One hundred and six patients were enrolled, and patients with alcoholism or diabetes mellitus were excluded. Clinical, biochemical and virologic data, including HCV genotype and serum HCV-RNA titer and histological findings, were compared between patients with and without hepatic steatosis.
Results: Fifty-five (52%) of the 106 patients with chronic hepatitis C had hepatic steatosis. Patients with hepatic steatosis had significantly higher mean serum levels of triglyceride and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, higher body mass index, and a higher incidence of obesity compared with patients without hepatic steatosis. No significant differences in serum HCV-RNA titer and HCV genotype or the response to interferon therapy were noted between the two groups. Histological analysis showed patients with hepatic steatosis had a significantly higher mean fibrotic score than patients without hepatic steatosis (1.9 +/- 1.2 vs 1.3 +/- 1.0; P = 0.016). There were no significant differences in the severity of necroinflammation, the presence of lymphoid aggregation/follicle or bile duct damage between the two groups. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that independent predictors associated with hepatic steatosis were obesity or a histology fibrotic score of > or = 2.
Conclusion: It was found that 52% of Chinese patients with chronic hepatitis C had hepatic steatosis. Patients with hepatic steatosis were more frequently obese and had more severe hepatic fibrosis.