Hepatitis C Virus Infection Increases the Risk of Developing Peripheral Arterial Disease: A 9-Year Population-based Cohort Study

—Alan Franciscus, Editor-in-Chief  

Hepatitis C is not just a disease of the liver.  There have been many studies that have shown that hepatitis C affects the liver, kidneys, heart, blood pressure and almost every organ of the body.  This is why it is so important that everyone with hepatitis C is monitored and evaluated for treatment.  Being cured of hepatitis C can help to relieve many of the symptoms of hepatitis C, reverse some or all of the damage caused by hepatitis C, prolong the life of people with hepatitis C and can greatly improve the physical and emotional life of people with hepatitis C.

The abstract below is a long-term study about the effect of hepatitis C (HCV) on peripheral arterial disease.

Peripheral arterial disease or PAD is a build-up of fat, calcium, and other tissue—plaque—in the arteries that supply blood to the body.   When enough plaque builds up it is called atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis can cause hardening and narrowing of the arteries that can cause serious health problems—limiting the flow of blood to parts of the body that could lead to heart attacks, strokes, numbness in the limbs, and infections that don’t heal. 

In the 9-year study below, it was found that people with HCV were 1.43 times more likely to develop PAD and that the risk increased with the person’s age compared to those who did not have HCV.  The risk considerably increased in those with HCV who also had kidney disease.— Alan

Hepatitis C Virus Infection Increases the Risk of Developing Peripheral Arterial Disease: A 9-Year Population-based Cohort Study.
Hsu YH1, Muo CH2, Liu CY3, Tsai WC3, Hsu CC4, Sung FC5, Kao CH6.

J Hepatol. 2014 Sep 25. pii: S0168-8278(14)00712-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2014.09.022. [Epub ahead of print]


The relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) development remains unclear.
Health insurance claims data were used to construct a cohort of HCV-infected patients who were diagnosed in 1998-2011. Patients younger than 20 years and those with history of hepatitis B or PAD were excluded.

We selected 7641 HCV-infected patients and 30564 matched controls. The adjusted risk of developing PAD was analyzed using a multivariate Cox hazard model.
The results show that the excess risk of PAD development in HCV-infected patients is 1.43-fold higher (95% CI = 1.23-1.67) compared with non-HCV patients.

The adjusted risk of PAD development increased with age; compared with the 20-34-year-old patients, the risk is 3.96-fold higher in HCV-infected patients aged 35-49 years, and 11.7-fold higher in those aged 65 years and above. CKD/ESRD has highest risk for PAD (HR = 1.80, 95% CI = 1.29-2.53). HCV-infected patients with four comorbidities exhibited a substantially higher risk of developing PAD (HR=9.25, 95% CI = 6.35-13.5). Excess risk of developing PAD was observed since within the first year of follow-up till the third year.
HCV-infected patients have an independently higher risk of developing PAD. HCV-infected patients with comorbidity have increased risk of developing PAD.

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