Acute hepatitis C: A systematic review

Department of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease, Ain Shams Faculty of Medicine, Cairo, Egypt.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology (Impact Factor: 9.21). 06/2008; 103(5):1283-97; quiz 1298. DOI: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.01825.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The annual incidence of acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) has fallen in recent years, primarily because of effective blood screening efforts and increased education on the dangers of needle sharing. However, hepatitis C infection is still relatively frequent in certain populations. Most patients infected with HCV are unaware of their exposure and remain asymptomatic during the initial stages of the infection, making early diagnosis during the acute phase (first 6 months after infection) unlikely. While some of those infections will have a spontaneous resolution, the majority will progress to chronic HCV. We scanned the literature for predictors of spontaneous resolution and treatment during the acute stage of HCV to identify factors that would assist in treatment decision making.
A medical literature search through MEDLINE was conducted using the keyword "acute hepatitis C" with a variety of keywords focused on (a) epidemiology, (b) natural history and outcome, (c) diagnosis, (d) mode of transmission, and (e) treatment.
There are no reliable predictors for spontaneous resolution of HCV infection and a significant percentage of individuals exposed to HCV develop persistent infections that progress to chronic liver disease. An intriguing approach is to treat acute HCV and prevent the development of chronic hepatitis. Several clinical trials showed that treatment of hepatitis C infection during the acute phase is associated with high sustained virological response (SVR) rates ranging between 75% and 100%. Although there is a prevailing consensus that intervention during the acute phase is associated with improved viral eradication, relevant clinical questions have remained unanswered by clinical trials. Optimization of therapy for acute hepatitis C infection and identification of predictors of SVR represent a real challenge.
With more than 170 million chronic hepatitis C patients worldwide and an increase in the related morbidity and mortality projected for the next decade, an improvement in our ability to diagnose and treat patients with acute hepatitis C would have a significant impact on the prevalence of chronic hepatitis and its associated complications particularly in countries with a high endemic background of the infection.

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    • "With respect to clinical presentation, most of nonuremic patients presented symptoms and the icteric form of hepatitis. These findings are similar to those reported in other studies on acute infection with HCV [Santantonio et al., 2006; Kamal, 2008]. In view of inevitable selection bias, since the identification of anicteric forms is only possible by prospective screening of cases exposed to risk factors which, in fact, was observed among uremic patients on dialysis. "
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    ABSTRACT: The incidence of acute hepatitis C has decreased in the world. However, new cases are still reported. The objective of this study was to obtain data of acute hepatitis C in Brazil and to identify risk factors of transmission, diagnostic criteria, clinical presentation, evolution, and treatment. A questionnaire was sent to all members of the Brazilian Society of Hepatology. Sixteen centers participated with a total of 170 cases between 2000 and 2008. Among them, 37 had chronic renal failure on hemodialysis and were evaluated separately. The main diagnostic criterion in non-uremic patients was ALT (alanine aminotransferase) elevation associated with risk factors. In patients with chronic renal failure, anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) seroconversion was the most frequent criterion. Among the 133 non-uremic patients the main risk factors were hospital procedures, whereas in hemodialysis patients, dialysis was the single risk factor in 95% of the cases. Jaundice was more frequent in non-uremic patients (82% vs. 13%; P < 0.001) and ALT levels were higher in these individuals (P < 0.001). Spontaneous clearance was more frequent in non-uremic patients (51% vs. 3%; P < 0.001). Sixty-five patients were treated: 39 non-uremic patients and 26 on dialysis. Sustained virological response rates were 60% for non-uremic and 58% for uremic patients (P = 0.98). There was no association of these rates with the study variables. These findings show that cases of acute hepatitis C are still occurring and have been related predominantly to hospital procedures. Measures to prevent nosocomial transmission should be adopted rigorously and followed to minimize this important source of infection observed in this survey.
    Journal of Medical Virology 10/2011; 83(10):1738-43. DOI:10.1002/jmv.22175 · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    • "Although recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (2002) and other updated practice guidelines (Ghany, Strader, Thomas, & Seeff, 2009; Wilkins, Malcolm, Raina, & Shade, 2010) no longer summarily exclude active IDU from HCV treatment recommendations, few studies have included IDU in their trials (Kamal, 2008). The lack of data on the population most impacted by HCV has compounded the concerns of clinicians already reluctant to treat IDU for HCV infection (Edlin et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment for acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has significantly better outcomes than treatment for chronic infection. The short window of the acute period poses challenges for young injection drug users (IDU), who are at highest risk of HCV infection, to demonstrate treatment candidacy. We recruited patients with acute HCV from a prospective cohort study to examine clinical and behavioral issues related to treatment candidacy. We report on outcomes and how nursing case management affected candidacy. All five acutely-infected participants reported daily drug use at baseline. All established primary care and decreased their drug use. None received treatment for their acute infection; one was treated within 12 months of infection. Establishing treatment candidacy for young IDU in the acute phase involves various health domains. An acute infection's short period poses many challenges to establishing candidacy, but it is a window of opportunity to engage young IDU in health care.
    The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care: JANAC 04/2011; 23(1):16-29. DOI:10.1016/j.jana.2011.01.006 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after liver transplantation is a significant cause of morbidity, mortality and graft loss. Spontaneous clearance of recurrent HCV after liver transplant is a rarely reported phenomenon. We report a case of a 66-year-old woman who underwent liver transplantation for HCV cirrhosis (treatment- naive genotype 2) under immunosuppression with tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), and short-term corticosteroids. The patient developed histologically proved severe cholestatic recurrence of HCV hepatitis. Immunosuppression was reduced to tacrolimus monotherapy because of cytopenia. She subsequently became RNA negative at week 44 post- transplant while on tacrolimus and MMF despite no antiviral therapy. A spontaneous sustained virologic clearance was confirmed with subsequent HCV nucleotide testing. Only a few similar cases have been reported in the literature with uninterrupted immunosuppression and subsequent spontaneous clearance. Our experience, and the few other published cases in the literature, suggests that spontaneous clearance of HCV after liver transplantation is a rare but real phenomenon. Better understanding of this phenomenon may help to manage recurrent HCV disease after transplantation.
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