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Studies: Current hepatitis C treatments can't be used by more than half of patients; others lose opportunity for treatment
Date:10/31/2013

DETROIT More than half of chronic hepatitis C patients studied in a new research project led by Henry Ford Hospital were not treated for the potentially fatal disease, either because they couldn't withstand current therapies or because they, or their doctors, were waiting for new treatments.

In a second, related study, Henry Ford researchers found that while the disease is not yet curable, there is a significant "lost opportunity" for hepatitis C patients to achieve the current best result of treatment.

Both studies are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases being held in Washington, DC, Nov. 1-5.

Stuart C. Gordon, M.D., director of the Hepatology section at Henry Ford, and lead author of the first study, said it was launched because of a lack of information about the subject.

"Limited data exist concerning the clinical disposition of U.S. patients with chronic hepatitis C infection, including the reasons for lack of antiviral treatment," Dr. Gordon says. "Our goal was to add to that data."

The team collected electronic health records from four large American health systems of patients with confirmed chronic hepatitis C, a viral infection that progressively scars the liver and eventually destroys the organ and its vital functions.

Of these 4,271 patients diagnosed with the infection and still alive through the end of 2011, the median age was 57; 57 percent were male; 29 percent were black and 97 percent were insured.

  • 543, or 12.7 percent, had previously achieved a sustained virologic response (SVR), meaning the hepatitis C virus was suppressed to the point that it could no longer be detected in their blood for six months after anti-viral treatment.
  • 110, or 2.6 percent, were currently on anti-viral therapy.
  • Of the remaining 3,618 patients, 12 percent had never been followed up within the health care system, despite clinical confirmation that they had chro
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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-850-3471
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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