Heart risk may increase with hepatitis C infections
It has been common knowledge that people who have hepatitis C infections have higher chances for liver damage, but the results about heart disease are new.
“We have strong reason to believe that infection with hepatitis C fuels cardiovascular disease, independent of HIV and sets the stage for subsequent cardiovascular trouble,” Eric Seaberg, Ph.D., study principal investigator and assistant professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said. “We believe our findings are relevant to anyone infected with hepatitis C regardless of HIV status.”
The results are from an ongoing study involve men who have sex with men. Many of these people have HIV infections, but not all of them do. The study participants were tracked over time to determine the risk of disease and infection progression. There was a subset of participants who had both hepatitis C and HIV, which are infections that commonly coincide.
“People infected with hepatitis C are already followed regularly for signs of liver disease, but our findings suggest clinicians who care for them should also assess their overall cardiac risk profile regularly,” Wendy Post, M.D., M.S., study author, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, said.
Further details are available online in the July 27 edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.