Between 1964 and 1987, there were several epidemic outbreaks of Hepatitis C virus infection linked to plasma donation occurred at plasmapheresis centers in Austria.
Dr Peter Ferenci and colleagues from Austria collected data from a Foundation that helped the victims to study the natural history of chronic Hepatitis C in this cohort.
Medical records and charts of donors accepted by the Foundation were analyzed.
|Advanced liver disease developed in 33% of patients|
|Journal of Hepatology|
The researchers identified 485 subjects, of which 439 were males with a mean age of 22 years at infection.
The mean follow-up was 31 years.
The team found that 34% of plasma donors had advanced liver disease.
Alcohol abuse and diabetes were related to progression.
The team observed that 21 patients developed hepatocellular carcinoma, and 36 underwent liver transplantation.
The team noted that 6 donors cleared the virus spontaneously.
There were 40 patients that had died, with death directly related to liver disease in 25 donors.
Overall and transplant-free 35-year cumulative survival rates were 84% and 74%, respectively.
The researchers reported that 319 patients received and 291 completed antiviral treatment.
All 56 who achieved a sustained virologic response are alive and well, 14 non-responders died, and 9 underwent liver transplantation.
Dr Ferenci's team concluded, "31 years after virus infection, advanced liver disease has developed in 33% of patients, with an overall mortality of 7%."
"These data underline the progressive nature of chronic Hepatitis C infection and the need to identify and treat infected subjects."