Extra-hepatic Manifestations

  • Contaminated Blood Campaign
  • A Canadian study in 2008 estimated the health costs of HCV. The study found that liver related costs were low in proportion to the total.
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Mental health problems and health related quality of life

Mental health problems are common in the case of Hepatitis C.  'Brain fog' is a term that has its origins in the memory and concentration problems encountered by HCV sufferers.

An article published in Medical Xpress in January 2012 bears the headline 'Scientists at the University of Birmingham have demonstrated for the first time that human brain cells can become infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV)'.

Depression, poor memory and impaired concentration are linked with HCV.  Interferon treatment for HCV is a major contributor to depression.  During treatment with Interferon, depression is one of the main side-effects that prevents continuation of the treatment.  Depression and other Mental health problems are also common in those with Hep C who are not treated with Interferon.

An article in Hepatolgy, February 2002, shows that liver cirrhosis leads to cognitive impairment but is also present in patientswithout cirrhosis.

The Journal of Viral Hepatitis reports that: "Chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has a profound effect on health-related quality of life (HRQoL)."  Fatigue, depression and neurocognitive deficits are among the most common complaints.  Research has shown that "Replicating virus has been found in central nervous tissues, and changes in neurotransmitter levels in the frontal white matter of patients with chronic hepatitis C are correlated with impaired attention and concentration."

A report published by the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, states:"Hepatic encephalopathy is the best known neurological association of chronic hepatitis C virus infection. However, there are a number of studies highlighting cerebral dysfunction, occurring well before the development of cirrhosis, at an early stage of chronic hepatitis C virus infection."

Just the title of this article in Hepatology, January 1998, says it all.'Chronic Hepatitis C Virus Infection Causes a Significant Reduction in Quality of Life in the Absence of Cirrhosis'.

Further evidence of a strong link between HCV and cognitive impairment is shown here.