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 23 May 2018

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News

Smoking aggravates HCV infection

Smoking is associated with elevated alanine aminotransferase levels among individuals with hepatitis C virus infection, claims a team from Taiwan.

News image

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The researchers investigated the role of cigarette smoking in hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and its affect on alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels.

They reported their findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A total of 6095 inhabitants, 35 years or older, in a community with hyperendemic hepatitis B and C virus infections, were included in the study.

Levels of serum ALT, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and anti-HCV antibody were all assayed.

Multivariate logistic regression was performed to determine the factors for elevated ALT levels (≥ 40 U/L) among people with different hepatitis infection statuses.

Prevalence of elevated ALT levels in individuals who were seronegative for both infections was 4%.

For those seropositive for HBsAg or anti-HCV, the prevalence was 11% and 31%, respectively.

Alcohol consumption and smoking increase ALT levels in HCV infected patients.
Archives of Internal Medicine
The team found that patients with elevated ALT levels were more likely to be seropositive for anti-HCV, seropositive for HbsAg, male, to drink alcohol, to smoke, and to have undergone blood transfusion.

An association was found between elevated ALT levels and the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol among anti-HCV-seropositive subjects.

In multivariate logistic analyses, alcohol consumption (odds ratio [OR], 2.2) and smoking (OR, 1.8) were found to be significantly associated with elevated ALT levels among anti-HCV-seropositive subjects.

However, no such association was found among HBsAg-seropositive subjects.

The odds of elevated ALT levels were 7-times higher for the anti-HCV-seropositive patients who smoked 1 or more packs of cigarettes per day and frequently drank alcohol than for those who did not.

Dr Chong-Shan Wang, of the A-Lein Community Health Center, Kaohsiung County, said on behalf of fellow authors, "Smoking and alcohol consumption are independently associated with elevated ALT levels among anti-HCV-seropositive individuals, but not among HBsAg-seropositive individuals."

"Patients who are seropositive for anti-HCV are strongly advised not to smoke and drink alcohol, to reduce the possible risk for aggravating liver dysfunction," it was concluded.

Arch Intern Med 2002; 162: 811-5
23 April 2002

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