Liver Inflammation Lingers in Some Patients After Hepatitis C Is Eradicated
About one-third of patients who were successfully treated to eliminate the hepatitis C virus continued to exhibit liver inflammation, a German study showed. The findings include people who took direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs, the current preferred therapy for the virus.
“This is the first comprehensive study on a large patient cohort investigating the prevalence and risk factors for ongoing liver inflammation after eradication of hepatitis C,” wrote Christoph Welsch, MD, and colleagues at the J. W. Goethe-University Hospital in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
The team set out to investigate whether a patient with chronic hepatitis C would experience continued liver irritation after reaching sustained virological response (SVR), or undetectable levels of serum hepatitis C virus RNA 12 to 24 weeks after therapy ended. SVR, which signals the successful eradication of the virus, is achieved for most patients with novel treatment regimens, according to the study. SVR is typically accompanied by a return to normal levels of an enzyme called aminotransferase (ALT). While the blood commonly contains low levels of ALT, a diseased liver releases additional amounts into the bloodstream, providing a clue about the organ’s health.