In this study, physicians from California, USA, assessed possible racial-ethnic differences in hepatitis C presentation in an urban hepatitis clinic.
The team surveyed the clinic summary cards of patients with antibodies to hepatitis C virus seen between 1993 and 2000.
They evaluated a total of 1271 patients from 4 major racial-ethnic groups. Of the 1271 patients, 95 were Asian, 232 African American, 323 Caucasian, and 621 Latino.
The physicians found that Latino patients had higher serum alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, and bilirubin levels, compared to other patient groups. They also had lower serum albumin levels.
|Asian patients were more likely to be coinfected with hepatitis B virus.|
|Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
In addition, the team determined that Latino patients had the lowest rate of hepatitis B coinfection. They were significantly less likely to have normal serum ALT levels.
The physicians found that Asian patients were 10 years older than patients in other groups. They were also significantly more likely to be coinfected with hepatitis B virus.
Asian patients had an equal distribution of infected men and women whereas all other groups showed a male predominance.
The physicians established that injection drug use was a negligible cause of hepatitis C in Asian patients. However, this was a prevalent cause in Caucasian patients of both sexes and in African American and Latino men.
Dr Anne Celona and colleagues concluded, "Hepatitis C risk factors, sex distribution, and coinfection with hepatitis B vary by race-ethnicity".
"Latino patients showed statistically significant biochemical differences in alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, bilirubin, and albumin levels compared with all other racial-ethnic groups".
"Further studies are required to determine the possible causes for these biochemical differences".