Published online Sep 28, 2007. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v13.i36.4903
Revised: June 15, 2007
Accepted: June 18, 2007
Published online: September 28, 2007
AIM: To study the outcomes of patients with compensated hepatitis C virus-related cirrhosis.
METHODS: Twenty-four grade A5 and 11 grade A6 of Child-Pugh classification cirrhotic patients with active virus replication, treated for a mean period of 31.3 ± 5.1 mo with moderate doses of interferon-alpha and ribavirin, were compared to a cohort of 36 patients with similar characteristics, without antiviral treatment. Salivary caffeine concentration, a liver test of microsomal function, was determined at the starting and thrice in course of therapy after a mean period of 11 ± 1.6 mo, meanwhile the resistive index of splenic artery at ultra sound Doppler, an indirect index of portal hypertension, was only measured at the beginning and the end of study.
RESULTS: Eight out of the 24 A5- (33.3%) and 5 out of the 11 A6- (45.45%) treated-cirrhotic patients showed a significant improvement in the total overnight salivary caffeine assessment. A reduction up to 20% of the resistive index of splenic artery was obtained in 3 out of the 8 A5- (37.5%) and in 2 out of the 5 A6- (40%) cirrhotic patients with an improved liver function, which showed a clear tendency to decrease at the end of therapy. The hepatitis C virus clearance was achieved in 3 out of the 24 (12.5%) A5- and 1 out of the 11 (0.091%) A6-patients after a median period of 8.5 mo combined therapy. In the cohort of non-treated cirrhotic patients, not only the considered parameters remained unchanged, but 3 patients (8.3%) had a worsening of the Child-Pugh score (P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: A prolonged antiviral therapy with moderate dosages of interferon-alpha and ribavirin shows a trend to stable liver function or to ameliorate the residual liver function, the entity of portal hypertension and the compensation status at acceptable costs.