Treatment rates in patients with chronic hepatitis C after liver biopsy

G. Narasimhan, T. N. Sargios, R. Kalakuntla, P. Homel, D. J. Clain, N. D. Theise, H. C. Bodenheimer, A. D. Min

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14 Scopus citations


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major health problem in the United States. Only about 30% of patients infected with HCV are being treated despite the development of increasingly effective therapies. The aims of this study were to determine the rate of treatment for patients with HCV after undergoing liver biopsy, to assess any change in their treatment rates over recent years and to delineate the reasons for nontreatment. We retrospectively reviewed the charts of all HCV patients who had liver biopsies at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York between 1998 and 2002. The data gathered included patient demographics, stage of liver fibrosis, insurance information, treatment history and reasons for nontreatment. There were 433 liver biopsies done for chronic hepatitis C between 1998 and 2002. Of those, 267 (61%) were men. The mean age was 47 years (range, 18-72). Only 159 (37%) patients were treated after liver biopsy. Overall there were no significant differences in the treatment rates from 1999 to 2002. The common reasons for nontreatment included minimal/mild disease (stage 0-1 fibrosis, 38%), lost to follow-up or noncompliance (31%) and patient refusal (22%). Older patients more frequently had co-morbid conditions (P = 0.009). Younger age and female gender correlated with minimal disease on biopsy (P = 0.004 and 0.01, respectively). Men were lost to follow-up more frequently than women (37%vs 22%, P = 0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that age and gender were both independent predictors of minimal disease. Patients having Medicaid with or without Medicare were significantly more likely to be treated than patients with private or commercial insurance or patients with Medicare alone. A minority of HCV infected patients were treated even after having undergone liver biopsy. The proportion of HCV patients being treated after liver biopsy has been relatively stable despite advances in therapeutic success. Liver histology frequently identified patients with mild disease in whom antiviral therapy was deemed not urgent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-786
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Viral Hepatitis
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiviral therapy
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Interferon
  • Liver biopsy


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