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Cardiovascular disease risk is higher for people with hepatitis C
Keith Alcorn, 2016-01-22 07:50:00

People with hepatitis C are at higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease suffering a stroke or developing cardiovascular problems than people with similar risk factors for heart disease who do not have hepatitis C, a meta-analysis of published studies has shown.

The findings, published in the January 2016 edition of Gastroenterology, come from a meta-analysis of 22 epidemiological studies conducted by Salvatore Petta and colleagues at the University of Palermo, Italy.

Studies have produced inconsistent findings previously regarding the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with hepatitis C. These studies have suffered from insufficient numbers or weaknesses in design, limiting the strength of any conclusions. Researchers at the University of Palermo set out to pool data from published studies in order to produce more robust estimates of the risks of heart attack and stroke in people living with hepatitis C.

The researchers identified 22 studies which reported fully on the cardiovascular outcomes of people with hepatitis C in comparison to those of people without hepatitis C.

Their meta-analysis considered three outcomes:

  • Cardiovascular mortality (death from any cardiovascular cause)

  • Carotid atherosclerosis as measured by carotid plaques (plaques, composed of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue, build up in the arteries and their presence raises the risk of heart attack and stroke)

  • Stroke or heart attack (cerebrocardiovascular events).