Diagnosis and 10-year follow-up of a community-based hepatitis C cohort

J Fam Pract. 2002 Feb;51(2):135-40.


Objective: To determine the health care follow-up and treatment associated with physician-diagnosed hepatitis C (HCV) in a community-based population.

Study design: We conducted a retrospective medical record review using records from all providers in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

Population: The study incorporated all Olmsted County residents with physician-diagnosed hepatitis C from 1990 through 1999.

Outcomes measured: We assessed demographic and health status information as well as health services use in subjects with physician-diagnosed HCV.

Results: Physicians diagnosed hepatitis C in 355 subjects (219 men [62%], 136 women [38%]), mean age 43 years, in the 10-year period studied. About half of diagnoses (45%, n = 159) were confirmed with polymerase chain reaction or liver biopsies. Identified risk factors included IV drug use (50%), multiple sex partners (36%), and blood transfusion (30%). Follow-up assessment with aspartate aminotransferase/amino alanine transferase (AST/ALT) tests occurred in about half (49%) of subjects, while 202 subjects (60%) were referred for gastrointestinal (GI) specialist evaluation and 49 patients (14% of all, 25% of those referred to a GI specialist) had specific treatment for hepatitis C. Although well over half of patients (60%) had possible contraindications to HCV treatment, including heavy alcohol use, few were referred for chemical dependency therapy.

Conclusions: In this community, follow-up and treatment related to HCV were limited. Attention to prevention of disease-accelerating co- infections was only modest. Referral or documented recommendations for treatment of alcoholism or heavy chronic alcohol ingestion were minimal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Services / standards*
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Comorbidity
  • Continuity of Patient Care
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Primary Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors