Sudomotor Changes in Hepatitis C Virus Infection with or without Diabetes Mellitus: A Pilot Study in Egyptian Patients

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Nov 23;104(2):580-584. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0612.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can affect the neurological system, and neuropathy is one of these manifestations. Hepatitis C virus infection is associated with diabetes mellitus (DM) type II, and diabetic patients are at higher risk of acquiring HCV infection. Sweat function has been proposed to assess early autonomic neuropathy. This study aimed to evaluate small fiber neuropathy in asymptomatic HCV-related cirrhotic patients with or without DM through sweat function assessment by Sudoscan test. Three groups were involved: 47 healthy controls, 48 HCV-related cirrhotic patients without DM (group 1), and 49 HCV-related cirrhotic patients with DM type II (group 2). All participants were subjected to liver panel tests, renal function tests, cell blood counts, HbA1c, and abdominal ultrasound. Sweat function was assessed in all patients and controls by measuring hand and feet electrochemical skin conductance (ESC, microSiemens [µS]) using Sudoscan. Peripheral neuropathy was detected in none of the controls, 39% of group 1 patients, and 62% of group 2 patients (P < 0.0001). The mean feet ESC (FESC) was 88.3 ± 6.8 µS in controls, 67.2 ± 19.2 µS in group 1, and 57.9 ± 19.4 µS in group 2 (P < 0.0001). A significant correlation was observed between FESC and bilirubin, albumin, creatinine, international normalized ratio, transaminases, and splenic size. Electrochemical skin conductance measurement is a valuable, noninvasive method for early detection of small fiber neuropathy in asymptomatic HCV-related cirrhosis, with or without DM.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / virology
  • Egypt
  • Electrochemistry
  • Female
  • Foot / pathology
  • Hepacivirus / pathogenicity*
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / virology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Skin / pathology