Characteristics of HCV positive subjects referring to hospitals in Italy: a multicentre prevalence study on 6,999 cases.J Viral Hepat. 2006 May; 13(5):351-4.JV
In 2001, 6,999 anti-HCV positive subjects referred to 79 Italian hospital in a 6 months enrollment period were evaluated. Of them, 5,632 (80.5%) tested anti-HCV positive alone, 1,163 (16.6%) reported also an excessive alcohol intake, and 204 (2.9%) were also HBsAg positive. Normal biochemistry was observed in 7.8% of cases, chronic hepatitis in 67.9% of cases, liver cirrhosis in 18.9% of cases, and hepatocellular carcinoma in 3.6% cases. HCV positive subjects with excessive alcohol intake were statistically significantly younger, of male sex, and having more severe liver disease than those without excessive alcohol intake. Adjusting for the confounding effect of age and sex by multiple logistic regression analysis, HCV positive chronic hepatitis cases drinking more than four alcoholic drinks daily were 2.2-fold (CI 95% = 1.3-4.0) more likely to progress to liver cirrhosis than teetotallers. These findings indicate that nearly a quarter of HCV positive subjects referred to hospitals in Italy have a severe liver disease causing a remarkable impact on the national health system. Excessive alcohol intake in HCV chronic hepatitis cases increases the risk of progression to liver cirrhosis.