Extent of Liver Damage May Be Underestimated In Hepatitis C Patients

Stuart Gordon, M.D. Director of Hepatology at Henry Ford HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Stuart Gordon, M.D.

Director of Hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital
Detroit, Michigan

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gordon: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Hepatitis estimates 2.7 to 3.9 million people in the United States currently suffer from chronic hepatitis C. But, unfortunately, many of these patients may be unaware of the severity of their liver damage. We looked at evidence of cirrhosis among hepatitis C patients by examining four different parameters: ICD9 codes; liver biopsy reports; evidence of liver failure; and the FIB-4 test, an easily calculated biomarker. By using all four indicators of cirrhosis, we found a far higher prevalence of cirrhosis than would be indicated by any one method.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Gordon: Presence of cirrhosis in hepatitis C may be hidden or not easily recognizable; is often asymptomatic in its early form; and may require a high degree of suspicion in order to diagnose.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Gordon: Studies that rely on diagnostic codes or biopsies performed in routine care for evidence of cirrhosis may be underestimating the extent of cirrhosis, which is a leading cause of death in the United States. Future research should investigate the value of indirect markers of cirrhosis. This could result in earlier diagnosis and prevention of liver disease complications.


Stuart C Gordon, Lois E Lamerato, Loralee B Rupp, Scott D Holmberg, Anne C Moorman, Philip R Spradling, Eyasu Teshale, Fujie Xu, Joseph A Boscarino, Vinutha Vijayadeva, Mark A Schmidt, Nancy Oja-Tebbe, Mei Lu. Prevalence of Cirrhosis in Hepatitis C Patients in the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS): A Retrospective and Prospective Observational StudyThe American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2015; 110 (8): 1169 DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2015.203

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Stuart Gordon, M.D. (2015). Extent of Liver Damage May Be Underestimated In Hepatitis C Patients 

Last Updated on August 22, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD