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Comparative Study
, 96 (8), 2438-41

Chronic Hepatitis C in Ethnic Minority Patients Evaluated in Los Angeles County

Comparative Study

Chronic Hepatitis C in Ethnic Minority Patients Evaluated in Los Angeles County

M Bonacini et al. Am J Gastroenterol.


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare demographic, clinical, and histological features of hepatitis C in four ethnic groups seen at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Hepatitis Clinic.

Methods: We evaluated 256 patients with chronic hepatitis C, with 132 (52%) receiving a liver biopsy as part of their evaluation. We estimated fibrosis progression in 103 patients with known duration of disease.

Results: Asians (6%) were underrepresented in the hepatitis C cohort, whereas Latinos (51%) were overrepresented, as compared with the entire county population. A history of injection drug use was more frequent in whites (65%) than in African Americans (45%, p = 0.05), Latinos (47%, p = 0.01), or Asians (0%) and more frequent in Latinos (59%) than in Latinas (26%, p = 0.003). Such a gender difference was not found in African Americans or whites. Baseline laboratory values were comparable. The amount of alcohol consumed daily was higher in African Americans than in Asians (p = 0.0001) and whites (p = 0.10). African Americans (0.077 fibrosis stages/yr) and whites (0.084/yr) had significantly lower mean estimated progression of liver fibrosis than Latinos (0.215/yr) with hepatitis C virus infection (ps = 0.03 and 0.02, respectively): this was likely related to their longer estimated duration of disease.

Conclusion: Minorities represent the majority of chronic hepatitis C cases in the Los Angeles County Hepatitis Clinic. Asians, Latinas, and African Americans are less likely to report injection drug use as a risk factor for hepatitis C virus. Latinos seem to have faster liver fibrosis progression rates than either African Americans or whites.

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