Although liver fibrosis improves in many patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV), obesity, older age, and the presence of cirrhosis before treatment represent key risk factors for improvement delays, according to findings from a cross-sectional study published in the Journal of Viral Hepatitis.
Participants in this study had chronic HCV and either pretreatment advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis and had achieved a sustained virologic response (SVR) after successful treatment with an interferon-containing regimen (n=269). In this study, a negative HCV RNA approximately 6 months after the end of treatment comprised a SVR. Investigators evaluated the effect of potential risk factors, including body mass index and age, on delayed fibrosis improvement. Patients were followed for a median of 7.7 years (range, 0-20 years).
At follow-up, a higher median liver stiffness level was observed among patients with pretreatment cirrhosis (n=119) compared with patients with advanced fibrosis (8.5 kPa; 95% CI, 7-9.1 vs 6 kPa; 95% CI, 5.5-6.4, respectively). Despite the majority of participants experiencing improvement in fibrosis after achievement of SVR, approximately 24% experienced persisting advanced fibrosis (liver stiffness level: ≥9.5 kPa).