ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
ABSTRACT: An estimated 3.9 million Americans are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and most do not know that they are infected. This group includes persons who are at risk for HCV-associated chronic liver disease and who also serve as reservoirs for transmission of HCV to others. Because there is no vaccine to prevent HCV infection and immune globulin is not effective for postexposure prophylaxis, prevention of HCV infection is paramount. Patients who are at risk of exposure to HCV should be advised on steps they might take to minimize their risk of infection. Patients who are infected with HCV should be counseled on ways to prevent transmission of HCV to others and to avoid hepatotoxins. They should also be examined for liver disease and referred for treatment, if indicated.
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C, which is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV), is a major public health problem in the United States. HCV is most efficiently transmitted through large or repeated percutaneous exposures to blood. Most patients with acute HCV infection develop persistent infection, and 70 percent of patients develop chronic hepatitis. HCV-associated chronic liver disease results in 8,000 to 10,000 deaths per year, and the annual costs of acute and chronic hepatitis C exceed $600 million. An estimated 3.9 million Americans are currently infected with HCV, but most of these persons are asymptomatic and do not know they are infected. To identify them, primary health care professionals should obtain a history of high-risk practices associated with the transmission of HCV and other bloodborne pathogens from all patients. Routine testing is currently recommended only in patients who are most likely to be infected with HCV.
Confronted by an Unexpected Laboratory Result - Curbside Consultation
ABSTRACT: Chronic liver disease is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Hepatitis C virus infection is the most frequent cause of chronic liver disease and the most common indication for liver transplantation. Preventive care can significantly reduce the progression of liver disease. Alcohol and hepatitis C virus are synergistic in hastening the development of cirrhosis; therefore, patients with hepatitis C infection should abstain from alcohol use. Because superinfection with hepatitis A or B virus can lead to liver failure, vaccination is recommended. Potentially hepatotoxic medications should be used with caution in patients with chronic liver disease. In general, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided; acetaminophen in a dosage below 2 g per day is the safest choice. Many herbal remedies are potentially hepatotoxic, and only milk thistle can be used safely in patients who have chronic liver disease. Weight reduction and exercise can improve liver function in patients with fatty liver.
Hepatitis C: Diagnosis and Treatment - Article
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C, a common chronic bloodborne infection, is found in approximately 2 percent of adults in the United States. Chronic infection is associated with serious morbidity and mortality (e.g., cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma). Testing for hepatitis C is recommended for at-risk populations, and confirmatory testing includes quantification of virus by polymerase chain reaction. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against routine screening for hepatitis C virus infection in asymptomatic adults who are not at increased risk of infection (general population). It found insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine screening in adults at high risk of infection. Current therapy for chronic hepatitis C virus includes pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Therapy is based on factors that predict sustained virologic response, and the goal of therapy is to slow or halt progression of fibrosis and prevent the development of cirrhosis. In the future, multidrug regimens in combination with current therapies may be developed. Patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection should be advised to abstain from alcohol use. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent hepatitis C virus infection; however, persons infected with hepatitis C virus should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B. The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases recommends ultrasound surveillance for hepatocellular carcinoma in persons with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and cirrhosis.