A hiddenly high hepatitis C virus related liver disease burden among Chinese patients with non-liver disease complaints: A hospital based study from 2013 to 2017
Receipt of antibody results,Linkage to care
Laboratory-based antibody test,Laboratory-based PCR/RNA (confirmatory) test
Objective: To determine the frequency of anti-HCV antibody positivity in patients with non-liver disease complaints, to explore whether anti-HCV positive patients had been properly advised and visited hepatologists for further assessments, and to investigate their clinical characteristics as well as the HCV treatment status. Method(s): A hospital based survey of non-liver disease patients with anti-HCV positive and their attending physicians was conducted to determine: 1. were the patients adequately advised of the implication of anti-HCV positive finding; 2. to what extent the patients were aware of potential chronic liver disease associated with HCV infection and whether they sought for further assessments and care of hepatologists. Result(s): A total of 295 294 non-liver disease patients were tested for anti-HCV antibody, and 2 778 of them were found to be positive (0.94%). However, only 45.10% (1 253/2 778) of the anti-HCV antibody (+) patients were referred to hepatologists and received HCV RNA test. In addition, 34.10% (312/915) and 1.42% (13/915) of them had already advanced to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), respectively. Further analysis showed that the patients who declined antiviral therapy were older, with lower education and lower income, possessed poorer knowledge on the risk of chronic hepatitis C, and had more severe liver diseases. Surprisingly, 65% of the surveyed physicians did not know the genotype-guided treatment duration suggested by the guidelines. Alarmingly, 22% of the surveyed physicians did not know the standard assays for the diagnosis of HCV infection. Conclusion(s): Our findings highlight the challenge and hidden enormous burden of chronic HCV infection among patients with non-liver disease complaints in China. Copyright © 2018 by the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. All rights reserved.