Background & Aims: Most studies of progression of chronic hepatitis C virus (cHCV) infection were conducted in hospital settings and were therefore biased for patients with severe disease. We evaluated the long-term outcomes of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among injecting drug users, recruited from outside the hospital setting, and examined the effect of cHCV on mortality after seroconversion. Methods: We studied data from 106 seroconverters with a documented or estimated date of HCV seroconversion. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to determine the effect of HCV persistence, compared with HCV clearance, on survival after HCV seroconversion. The median follow-up time was 14.8 years (interquartile range, 7.8-19.6). Results: cHCV infection developed in 71 of the subjects (67%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 57%-76%); 33 subjects died. One HCV-related death was observed 23 years after HCV seroconversion. Most causes of death were non-natural (n = 12) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome-related (n = 8). The effect of cHCV on mortality was nonproportional over time. When survival time was analyzed separately for 0-5 years, >5-10 years, and >10 years after HCV seroconversion, the age-adjusted hazard ratios for cHCV were 0.59 (95% CI, 0.16-2.20), 1.76 (95% CI, 0.36-8.53), and 8.28 (95% CI, 1.10-64.55), respectively, compared with resolved HCV infection. Conclusions: cHCV infection does not affect overall mortality in the first decade after seroconversion, compared with individuals who resolve HCV infection; however, during the second decade after infection, individuals with cHCV have an increased risk for all-cause mortality. Mortality from liver-related causes was low but might have been masked by competing mortality. © 2011 AGA Institute.
Grady, B., van den Berg, C., van der Helm, J., Schinkel, J., Coutinho, R., Krol, A., & Prins, M. (2011). No Impact of Hepatitis C Virus Infection on Mortality Among Drug Users During the First Decade After Seroconversion. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 9(9). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2011.05.012