AMSTERDAM — Approximately one-third of children under 18 years in the United Kingdom with hepatitis C developed serious long-term liver disease, according to data presented at the International Liver Congress.
“Detection of HCV should be aimed at relevant risk groups, particularly young intravenous drug abusers,” Line Modin, MD, PhD, said in a press release.
Researchers gathered data from 1,080 patients with hepatitis C between July 2012 and October 2016. Genotypes recorded in the cohort included genotype 1 (n = 533), genotype 2 (n = 51), genotype 3 (n = 335), genotype 4 (n = 27) and one patient with mixed genotype.
The modes of infection included IV drug abuse (n = 567), blood products (n = 252), perinatal exposure (n = 123) and other risk factors (n = 138).
Liver disease was found in 361 patients, including cirrhosis (n = 274) and hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 55). Forty-eight patients underwent liver transplantation and 17 of these patients had HCC.
Patients with perinatal exposure developed cirrhosis at an earlier age (median 36 years; range, 17-53 years) compared with patients whose infection was from injection drugs (median 48.5 years; range, 33-68 years), blood products (median 45.5 years; range, 23-61 years) or other risk factors (median 51.5 years; range, 12.65 years).
However, fewer patients with perinatal exposure developed cirrhosis (8.1%) compared with patients whose infection was from injection drugs (36%), blood products (32.1%) or other risk factors (30%). This may be related to time, according to the researchers, as most patients with perinatal exposure were younger than 33 years at the time of analysis, whereas most patients with cirrhosis in the other groups were over 33 years.
“This study from the U.K. suggests that many children infected perinatally may develop cirrhosis at a young age, if left untreated,” Francesco Negro, MD, from the University Hospital of Geneva and EASL governing board member, said in a press release. “Safe and efficacious direct-acting antiviral treatment should be made available to children, to prevent liver disease progression and viral spread at a later age.”
By Talitha Bennett
Modin L, et al. Abstract #LBP-525. Presented at: International Liver Congress; April 19-24, 2017; Amsterdam.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.