OBJECTIVE: Chronic hepatitis C is a global health problem and has been associated with coronary artery disease. Our aim was to examine the prevalence of coronary artery disease risk markers including endothelial biomarkers in patients with chronic hepatitis C and matched comparisons without manifest cardiovascular disease or diabetes in a cross-sectional design. METHODS: Sixty patients with chronic hepatitis C (mean age 51 years) were recruited from the Department of Infectious Diseases at Copenhagen University Hospital, and compared with 60 age-matched non-hepatitis C virus-infected individuals from a general population survey. We examined traditional coronary artery disease risk factors, metabolic syndrome, carotid intima media thickness, and a range of endothelial biomarkers. RESULTS: Patients with chronic hepatitis C had more hypertension (40% versus 25%, prevalence ratio [PR] 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9-2.7) and smoked more (53% versus 38%, PR 1.4; 95% CI 0.9-2.1). The two groups had similar body mass index (mean 25.0 versus 25.7 kg/m(2)), whereas those with chronic hepatitis C had less dyslipidemia (including significantly lower low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein ratio), higher glycosylated hemoglobin level (mean 6.2 versus 5.7, difference of means 0.5; 95% CI 0.3-0.8), and a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome (28% versus 18%, PR 1.6; 95% CI 0.8-3.0). Increased carotid intima media thickness above the standard 75th percentile was seen more frequently in chronic hepatitis C (9% versus 3%, PR 1.7; 95% CI 0.4-6.7), though difference of means was only 0.04 mm (95% CI 0.00-0.10). Patients with chronic hepatitis C had increased hsCRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein), sICAM-1 (soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1), sVCAM-1 (soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1), and soluble E-selectin, but lower levels of tPAI-1 (tissue-type plasminogen activator inhibitor-1), MMP9 (matrix metallopeptidase 9), and MPO (myeloperoxidase) than their comparisons. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that patients with chronic hepatitis C have increased prevalence of several coronary artery disease risk markers. These results may be important when evaluating the appropriateness of screening for coronary artery disease and its risk factors in chronic hepatitis C.
Vascular Health and Risk Management (online), 2014, Vol 10, p. 55-62