Clinical, biochemical and histological features in 102 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection

Q J Med. 1993 Feb;86(2):119-25.


The clinical, biochemical and histological features of 102 consecutively referred patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection were analysed. Demographic, epidemiological, biochemical, haematological and histological details were catalogued for each patient. The mean follow-up was 49 +/- 6 months. Liver biopsies were obtained from 92 patients; a second biopsy was obtained from 35 patients. The average known duration of infection was 8.6 +/- 0.7 years. The most common risk factors that could be identified were past blood transfusion, surgery or intravenous drug abuse. Twenty-four of the 27 patients (85%) with past blood transfusion had received blood in countries outside of northern Europe. In contrast, 12 of the 16 former drug users were northern European. Patients were frequently diagnosed incidentally; one-quarter had no symptoms of liver disease and were generally asymptomatic or had presented with non-specific complaints and were found to have abnormal serum aminotransferase levels after routine screening. The mean serum aminotransferase levels were not significantly different in those presenting with fatigue compared to those diagnosed incidentally. The most common physical sign in these patients was a palpable liver, which was present in 52%. The mean serum albumin concentration in patients older than 40 years was significantly lower than that in younger patients. Splenomegaly and endoscopic evidence of varices was also more common in older patients. Cirrhosis was present in 37% of patients at presentation: 20% showed progression on rebiopsy, and 5% developed cirrhosis within 4 years of initial presentation. Of those treated, 27% showed histological improvement. Histological severity did not correlate with duration of disease, but did correlate with age.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Autoantibodies / analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis C / blood*
  • Hepatitis C / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / pathology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / blood*
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Serum Albumin / analysis


  • Autoantibodies
  • Serum Albumin
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases