New study results indicated that patients with hepatitis C virus infection were more likely to have low muscle mass than patients without the infection.
In a cross-sectional study, Charitha Gowda, MD, MPH, division of infectious diseases, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues analyzed data from 18,513 adults enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2010). Patients completed a questionnaire, physical examination, provided blood samples and other measurements, and researchers sought to determine whether an association existed between patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and low muscle mass. The cohort included 303 patients with chronic HCV.
Patients with HCV had a 2.2-fold risk for low mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) compared with patients without HCV (adjusted OR=2.22; 95% CI, 1.39-3.56). The mean MUAC (32.4 cm vs. 33.2 cm; P=.006) and triceps skinfold thickness (15.6 cm vs. 19.3 cm; P<.001) measurements were lower in patients with HCV compared with uninfected patients. Low muscle mass was greater in patients with HCV compared with those without HCV (13.8% vs. 6.7%; P<.001).
Patients with HCV and normal BMI were more likely to have low MUAC than those without HCV (31% vs. 15.4%, P<.001). Current alcohol use among HCV patients was the only risk factor for low MUAC (aOR=10.1; 95% CI, 2.67-39.1).
“We demonstrate that chronic HCV infection in US adults is associated with a higher prevalence of low muscle mass, an early marker of malnutrition, even in the absence of advanced liver disease,” Gowda told Healio.com/Hepatology. “Importantly, low muscle mass is a modifiable risk factor that leads to worse health outcomes, and clinicians should consider evaluating the nutritional status of their chronic HCV-infected patients routinely to identify those at-risk.”
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.