Evangelista Sagnelli, Michele Imparato, Nicola Coppola, Department of Public Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Second University of Naples, 80132 Naples, Italy.
To evaluate the clinical relevance of each cofactor on clinical presentation of chronic hepatitis B.
Out of 1366 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive subjects consecutively observed in 79 Italian hospitals, 53 (4.3%) showed as the only cofactor hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection [hepatitis B virus (HBV)/HDV group], 130 (9.5%) hepatitis C virus (HCV) (group HBV/HCV), 6 (0.4%) human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (group HBV/HIV), 138 (10.2%) alcohol abuse (group HBV/alcohol); 109 (8.0%) subjects had at least two cofactors and 924 were in the cofactor-free (CF) group.
Compared with patients in group CF those in group HBV/alcohol were older and more frequently had cirrhosis (P < 0.001), those in group HBV/HDV were younger (P < 0.001), more frequently resided in the south of the country and had cirrhosis (P <0.001), those in group HBV/HCV were older (P < 0.001) and more frequently had cirrhosis (P < 0.001). These cofactors were all independent predictors of liver cirrhosis in HBsAg positive patients. Multivariate analysis showed that an older age [odds ratio (OR) 1.06, 95% CI: 1.05-1.08], alcohol abuse with more than 8 drinks daily (OR 2.89, 95% CI: 1.81-4.62) and anti-HDV positivity (OR 3.48, 95% CI: 2.16-5.58) are all independently associated with liver cirrhosis. This association was found also for anti-HCV positivity in univariate analysis, but it was no longer associated (OR 1.23, 95% CI: 0.84-1.80) at multivariate analysis.
Older age, HDV infection and alcohol abuse are the major determinants of severe liver disease in chronic HBV infection, while HCV replication plays a lesser role in the severity of hepatic damage.