Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 81-85

Clinical characteristics, spontaneous clearance and treatment outcome of acute hepatitis C: A single tertiary center experience

2nd Department of Internal Medicine, Athens University Medical School, Hippokration General Hospital of Athens, Greece

Correspondence Address:
Nikolaos Papadopoulos
2nd Department of Internal Medicine, Athens University Medical School, Hippokration General Hospital of Athens, 114 Vas. Sophias Ave., 115 27 Athens,
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.108479

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Background and Aims: Acute hepatitis C is rarely diagnosed due to its predominantly asymptomatic course. However, early treatment results in viral eradication in a high number of patients thus, preventing chronicity. The aim of our study was to describe our experience with patients with acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who presented and followed-up in our liver unit, pointing on treatment strategy, and outcome. Patients and Methods: Retrospective, descriptive study of 30 patients with acute HCV infection (26 males and 4 females) with a mean age of 32 years. Results: The source of infection was mainly injection drug use in 17/30 (56.7) and medical procedures 6/30 (20%). Twenty patients (66.6%) were symptomatic. HCV-ribonucleic acid (RNA) was detectable at presentation in 26 (86.7%) patients. The genotype distribution was: 13/26 (50%) genotype 1, 3/26 (11.5%) genotype 2, 8/26 (30.8%) genotype 3 and 2/26 (7.7%) genotype 4. Totally, 9 patients (30%) experienced spontaneous viral eradication. No significant differences could be documented between patients who spontaneously cleared the virus and those who had viral persistence. Thirteen patients (44%) were treated with peginterferon-based regimen. All patients (100%) achieved non-detectable HCV-RNA and had normal serum alanine aminotransferase levels at the end of the treatment. Eleven patients achieved sustained virologic response (SVR), one relapsed and one was lost to follow-up. The overall SVR rate was 84.6%. None of the patients required dose reduction or stopped the treatment due to side effects. Conclusion: In conclusion, early initiation of anti-viral treatment in patients with acute hepatitis C results in high-SVR rates (independently of genotype) and is well-tolerated.

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