Hepatitis C Virus Infection Increases the Risk of Developing Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Dig Dis Sci. 2015 Dec;60(12):3801-13. doi: 10.1007/s10620-015-3801-y. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


Background and rationale: Chronic kidney disease and hepatitis C virus are prevalent in the general population worldwide, and controversy exists about the impact of HCV infection on the development and progression of kidney disease.

Design: A systematic review of the published medical literature was made to assess whether positive anti-HCV serologic status plays an independent impact on the development of chronic kidney disease in the adult general population. We used a random-effects model to generate a summary estimate of the relative risk of chronic kidney disease (defined by reduced glomerular filtration rate or detectable proteinuria) with HCV across the published studies. Meta-regression and stratified analysis were also conducted.

Results: Twenty-three studies (n = 2,842,421 patients) were eligible, and separate meta-analyses were performed according to the outcome. Pooling results of longitudinal studies (n = 9; 1,947,034 unique patients) demonstrated a relationship between positive HCV serologic status and increased incidence of chronic kidney disease, the summary estimate for adjusted hazard ratio was 1.43 (95% confidence interval 1.23; 1.63, P = 0.0001), and between-studies heterogeneity was noted (P value by Q test <0.0001). The risk of the incidence of chronic kidney disease associated with HCV, in the subset of Asian surveys, was 1.31 (95% confidence interval 1.16; 1.45) without heterogeneity (P value by Q test = 0.6). HCV positive serology was an independent risk factor for proteinuria; adjusted odds ratio, 1.508 (95% confidence intervals 1.19; 1.89, P = 0.0001) (n = 6 studies; 107,356 unique patients).

Conclusions: HCV infection is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease in the adult general population.

Keywords: Adult population; Chronic kidney disease; Hepatitis C; Meta-analysis; Proteinuria.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Humans
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications*
  • Risk Factors