Surveillance of patients with chronic hepatitis C not on antiviral therapy: a practical approach

Rom J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jun;14(2):141-6.


Surveillance of patients with HCV-related chronic liver disease (CHC) not on antiviral therapy is mandatory, because of the risk of worsening of the disease and progression to cirrhosis and its lethal complications. Unfortunately, data from the literature are scarce, and sometimes there are differences among experts and discrepancies between recommendations. Furthermore, the wide range of diagnostic tests and the continuous development of new diagnostic tools not rarely results in expensive, redundant and not justified surveillance programs. The identification of the optimal frequency of follow-ups constitutes another source of difficulties for the physicians. The purpose of this article is to provide practicing physicians with published criteria for performing a cost-effective and adequate surveillance program for patients with CHC not on antiviral treatment. On the basis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), metanalysis, and international guide-lines and Consensus Conference statements we have attempted to outline a cost-effective surveillance program for HCV carriers with normal aminotransferases (ALT), for responders to previous interferon (IFN) treatment and for patients with CHC non-eligible for antiviral therapy. This surveillance strategy relies upon the judicious use of un-expensive and widely available tests.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Risk Factors


  • Antiviral Agents