Life expectancy after successful treatment for hepatitis C returns to be just as high as people who never had this disease.
Researchers in Italy found that some patients who are successfully treated for the hepatitis C virus tend to live as long as others in the general population not infected with the disease.
The study focused on patients with compensated hepatitis C-related cirrhosis who were treated for the virus with interferon-based therapy. Results were published in the Journal of Hepatology.
Long-term infection of the hepatitis C virus can lead to liver cirrhosis, which is divided into two stages; compensated and decompensated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With compensated cirrhosis, the liver becomes heavily scarred but can still function to a degree, whereas with decompensated cirrhosis, the liver is extensively scarred and can no longer function.
Decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma liver disorders are the main cause of death and liver transplantation among people in western countries with long term infection of the hepatitis C virus, according to a news release that accompanied publication of the study. International guidelines for treatment of the virus grant highest priority for new direct-acting antiviral drug treatments to people who have already developed cirrhosis.
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