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Antiviral Treatment for Hepatitis C Cirrhosis: Is the Effort Justified?

Martin Black, MD; and Rebecca Thomas, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19140.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Martin Black, MD, Department of Medicine, Temple University Hospital, 3420 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140; e-mail, martin.black@tuhs.temple.edu.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Black and Thomas: Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Temple University Hospital, 3420 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.

Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(6):427-428. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-149-6-200809160-00010
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Cirrhosis resulting from chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection occurs in 20% to 40% of infected individuals. Chronic HCV infection is the most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States (1) and is the most common diagnosis that leads to liver transplantation, and in many parts of the world, it is the leading disease associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (2). The prevalence of hepatitis C in the U.S. population has been estimated at 1.8% (3). This estimate, derived from NHANES III (Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data obtained from 1988 to 1994, is conservative; NHANES excluded incarcerated and homeless persons, groups that have high rates of HCV infection, and tested only a single sample for each participant. Furthermore, ongoing immigration of persons from countries with a high prevalence of hepatitis C continually swells the numbers of people with hepatitis C in the United States.

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