Reuters Health Information (2009-08-19): Pediatric HCV infection may lead to liver damage
Pediatric HCV infection may lead to liver damage
Last Updated: 2009-08-19 15:24:23 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause a variety of symptoms and functional hepatic changes in children and adolescents, researchers report in the August issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal
"Our findings," lead investigator Dr. Wendy A. Henderson told Reuters Health, "indicate that pediatric patients with HCV have potentially significant symptoms and pathophysiologic liver changes related to HCV infection."
Dr. Henderson and colleagues, from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, came to this conclusion after reviewing data on 62 HCV patients, 3 months to 19 years of age.
In all, 60% of these patients presented with symptoms including fatigue, joint and abdominal pain, and bruising and bleeding. In the 35 who underwent liver biopsy, 80% had evidence of inflammation. Biopsy also showed that 57% had fibrosis and 9% had steatosis. Symptoms were universally present in patients with cirrhosis or steatosis.
Overall, males were significantly more likely to be symptomatic, as were older patients. In addition, patients with a viral load below 2 million copies were five times more likely to have symptoms than those with higher values (p = 0.03). The authors suggest that this inverse association is "possibly related to the presence of comorbid conditions in 74% of the cohort."
Given these findings, Dr. Henderson concluded: "It remains to be determined if children with HCV will have amelioration or complete resolution of symptoms following treatment."
Pediatr Infect Dis J 2009;28:724-727.