Hepatitis C virus infection was associated with a greater risk for peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, in Taiwanese patients, with a nearly 12-fold increased risk in patients older than 65 years, according to study data published in the Journal of Hepatology.
“The aim of this research was to investigate the relationship between HCV infection and PAD, in a retrospective nationwide cohort, using data from a representative health insurance database,” the researchers wrote. “We hypothesized that HCV infection might be associated with an increased risk of developing PAD.”
Researchers analyzed data of 7,641 patients with HCV (6,771 in Class 1 and 870 in Class 2) in the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database and matched them with 30,564 controls. The mean age of the patients in the HCV cohort was 53.5 years and 51.2% were female. The mean follow-up period was 5.96 years.
Analysis showed that the risk for developing PAD was higher in the patients with HCV compared with patients in the comparison cohort (HR = 1.51 for Class 1; HR = 1.56 for Class 2 patients), respectively. After adjusting for multiple variables, including age and comorbidities, risk for developing PAD remained higher in the patients with HCV (HR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1.23-1.67). Patients with HCV aged 34 to 49 years had a 3.96-fold risk for developing PAD compared with patients who were aged 20 to 34 years; there was an 11.7-fold higher risk for developing PAD in patients aged at least 65 years.
Various comorbidities increased PAD risk in patients with HCV, especially patients with chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease (HR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.29-2.53), who had the highest risk. HCV alone was a risk factor for developing PAD in patients without comorbidities (HR = 1.69; 95% CI, 1.21-2.29).
Patients with HCV had a higher risk for developing PAD between 1 and 3 years from follow-up (P < .01 and P < .001, respectively), according to the research.
“HCV-infected patients are at higher risk of developing PAD,” the researchers concluded. “HCV-infected patients with concurrent comorbidity are at an even higher risk of developing PAD. … We recommend all physicians to be aware of their patients’ HCV infection status and potential extrahepatic sequelae.”
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.