Hepatitis C virus infection in the elderly

A. M. Brind, J. P. Watson, O. F.W. James, M. F. Bassendine

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30 Citations (Scopus)


We studied hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related disease in older people because the treatment rationale for younger asymptomatic patients is based on the long-term prognosis of infection. Of the HCV-antibody-positive patients seen at Freeman Hospital 1990-1994, 25 were > 65 years old; 24 were Caucasian and one was Afro-Caribbean. Median age at presentation was 67 years, and five were female. Nine were asymptomatic at presentation, six presented with varices, five with malaise, three with abdominal pain, one with pruritis and one with oedema. Risk factors identified were: transfusion (7), haemodialysis (1), health care worker (dentist) (1), and tattoos (2). There was no recognized risk factor for infection in 14, but five of these had done military service in areas of high HCV prevalence. Liver biopsy in 20 showed chronic hepatitis in two, cirrhosis in 12, and cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in six. Three additional patients also developed hepatocellular carcinoma. HCV genotyping was done in 19 and all were type 1 (1a, 4; 1b, 14; 1 untypable, 1). Eleven died, at median age 71 years (range 65-94 years), five of HCV liver-related deaths and two from HCV-associated non-hepatic disorders (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and fibrosing alveolitis).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
Number of pages6
JournalQJM: an international journal of medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


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