The aim of this study was to identify factors associated with the presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC).
We studied 98 patients with CHC [47 with NASH (group HCV/NASH), 51 without NASH (group HCV)] and 85 with NASH not infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) (group NASH). We determined factors associated with the presence of NASH in patients with hepatitis C.
Group HCV/NASH patients resembled those with NASH. Body mass index (BMI) was higher in group HCV/NASH than in group HCV, but was similar to group NASH. Most HCV/NASH patients had risk factors for NASH. In patients infected with HCV, NASH and NASH-related lesions were independently associated with BMI, while steatosis score was associated with HCV genotype 3 and BMI. Fibrosis stage was independently associated with steatosis, necroinflammatory activity index, and NASH lesions.
While HCV genotype 3 infection and BMI are associated with the presence of steatosis in CHC, BMI is the only factor independently associated with the presence of NASH in these patients. We suggest that overweight-related factors might induce NASH in CHC patients.