Patients with hepatitis C virus infection have a higher risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, according to recent data. In addition, patients with hepatitis C along with diabetes or hypertension have an even higher risk.
“The available evidence is sufficient to conclude that hepatitis C virus infection increases cardiovascular risk, including risks of subclinical carotid atherosclerosis, [cerebro-cardiovascular] events, and cardiovascular mortality,” Salvatore Petta, MD, PhD, of the University of Palermo in Italy, and colleagues wrote. “Furthermore, the effect of HCV infection on cardiovascular risk appears to be especially pronounced in populations with a high prevalence of smoking, hypertension, or diabetes mellitus.”
Petta and colleagues looked at 22 studies from PubMed Central, Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Library published up until July 2015 that compared cardiovascular disease (CVD) occurrence in patients with or without HCV.
The researchers found that patients with HCV had an increased risk of CVD-related mortality (OR = 1.65; 95% CI, 1.07-2.56), carotid plaques (OR = 2.27; 95% CI, 1.76-2.94) and cerebro-cardiovascular events (OR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.55). In addition, they found that the risk of cerebro-cardiovascular disease in patients with HCV was higher if the patient also had diabetes or hypertension (OR = 1.71; 95% CI, 1.32-2.23).
“Historically, HCV infection has been considered to affect only the liver, via the development of cirrhosis and its complications,” Petta and colleagues wrote. “However, recent studies have suggested that HCV-infected patients have an increased risk of developing CVDs. To our knowledge, our meta-analysis clearly highlights, for the first time, that HCV infection increases the risk of CVD-related mortality.” – by Will Offit
Disclosures: Petta and colleagues report no relevant financial disclosures.