Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection may be an important cofactor for liver disease in chronic alcoholics.
In this study, researchers from Spain assessed the effect of HCV infection and abstinence from alcohol on survival in a cohort of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.
The research team assessed 213 patients with alcoholic cirrhosis. Of these, 72 were infected by HCV.
|Persistence of alcohol consumption after diagnosis was identified as an independent predictor of poor outcome.|
|Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology|
Complete alcohol abstinence following diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis was recorded in 86 patients.
The team compared the study patients with a reference group consisted of 89 patients with anti-HCV positivity, who had never consumed alcohol.
They analyzed survival using the Kaplan and Meier method, and the predictors of survival using Cox's multiple regression.
The research team found that HCV infection was not a determinant factor for survival in alcoholic cirrhosis.
Age and Child-Pugh grade at the time of cirrhosis diagnosis, and persistence of alcohol consumption after diagnosis were identified as independent predictors of poor outcome.
Furthermore, the cumulative survival curve in abstinent alcoholics was significantly different from that of alcoholics who maintained their pattern of alcohol consumption.
Additionally, cumulative survival in patients with anti-HCV-positive cirrhosis who stopped drinking after diagnosis was similar to that in patients with HCV-positive cirrhosis who had never consumed alcohol.
Dr Miguel Serra’s team concluded, “Cumulative survival in alcoholic cirrhosis does not seem to be influenced by the presence or absence of markers of HCV infection”.
“Once liver cirrhosis has been diagnosed in the alcoholic patient, complete alcohol abstinence should be strongly recommended.”