Although Hepatitis C virus infection prevalence is high among drug users, they do not commonly receive regular care in academic centers.
Dr Foucherand colleagues from France prospectively assessed the influence of FibroScan use on Hepatitis C virus screening and management in street-based outreach.
From 2006 to 2007, all consecutive drug users were offered noninvasive evaluation of liver fibrosis with FibroScan.
|44% reported current chronic alcohol abuse|
|Journal of Viral Hepatitis |
After FibroScan, parameters were recorded with a structured, face-to-face questionnaire by outreach workers.
The researchers found that of 298 subjects, 69% ever injected heroin, 89% ever snorted or injected cocaine, and 44% reported current chronic alcohol abuse.
The median FibroScan score was 5.3 kPa.
Before blood sampling, 34% of subjects reported Hepatitis C virus positivity.
The team found Hepatitis C virus positivity in 83 cases.
All these subjects had positive Hepatitis C virus-RNA.
The team reported that 45 subjects agreed to meet a hepatologist.
By multivariate analysis, never having snorted cocaine, and consuming alcohol of 21 drinks per week was significantly associated with Hepatitis C virus positivity.
In addition, the team noted that injecting heroin for more than 7 years, and a FibroScan score over 7.1 kPa were significantly associated with Hepatitis C virus positivity.
Dr Foucher and team concluded, “Thus in a street-based outreach service for drug users, the acceptance of FibroScan is excellent.”
“FibroScan with a hospital-based physician may facilitate screening and management of drug users for Hepatitis C virus infection.”