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Viral Hepatitis Reviews

Hepatitis C Virus: Eight Years Old
Robert G. Gish, Johnson Y. N. Lau


Purpose: To review the current literature available on Hepatitis C including pertinent clinical information on diagnosis and treatment.

Data Sources: Journal articles published between 1980 and 1995 using keywords indexed in MEDLINE and EXERPTA MEDICA as well as the authors’ own publication files including Hepatitis C, non-A non-B hepatitis, interferon, immunology, transmission, and treatment.

Clinical articles were reviewed that described the diagnosis, epidemiology, immunology, natural history, and treatment of hepatitis non-A non-B and Hepatitis C. Approximately 1.8% of the United States population is infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C infection results in a systemic disease that affects organs other than the liver and may be associated with disabling symptoms. An estimated 20% to 30% of patients infected with HCV will develop end-stage liver disease. HCV-related cirrhosis is the leading indication for liver transplantation in the United States. Advances in laboratory techniques have led to the development of a variety of diagnostic tests to evaluate patients for HCV infection. Only a portion of patients with chronic Hepatitis C respond to interferon-alfa. Further data are required to define the best dose and duration of interferon treatment as well as the long-term beneficial effects of interferon for the treatment of chronic HCV infection. Conclusions: HCV is a major health problem in the United States and many other countries. Although the natural history of HCV infection is now better defined and a number of excellent diagnostic tests are now available, our understanding of the pathogenesis of HCV infection is limited and therapy for HCV infection is unsatisfactory.

Keywords:Hepatitis C virus; diagnosis; treatment
p 17-37
Volume 3 Number 1, March 1997