Cirrhosis Outcome Worse with Hepatitis E Infection

Study shows over 40 percent mortality rate for patients with cirrhosis and HEV infection

THURSDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with cirrhosis who are infected with hepatitis E virus are at higher risk of rapid decompensation and death compared with other patients, according to a study conducted in India and published in the March issue of the Journal of Hepatology.

Subrat Kumar Acharya, of All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, and colleagues measured hepatitis E virus RNA levels in 200 healthy controls and in 107 cirrhosis patients, including those with rapid decompensation, chronic decompensation or no decompensation. Hepatitis E is hyper-endemic in India while the prevalence of anti-HEV antibodies in this population is low.

The investigators found that 28 percent of cirrhotics and 4.5 percent of controls had detectable levels of HEV RNA, including 50 percent of patients displaying rapid decompensation. Overall, 70 percent of patients with HEV infection had rapid decompensation compared to 27 percent without HEV infection. Mortality for HEV-positive cirrhotics was 43 percent compared to 22 percent for negative patients.

"The present study revealed that in India, cirrhotics constituted a high-risk group to contract HEV infection and subsequently had rapid deterioration of hepatic reserve leading to high mortality," the authors conclude.

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