A substantial baseline risk of liver cirrhosis exists for patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. However, the extent to which this could be driven by heavy alcohol use is unclear. Therefore, our principal aim was to determine the fraction of cirrhosis attributable to heavy alcohol use among chronic HCV patients attending a liver clinic. The study population comprised chronic HCV patients who had attended one of five liver clinics in Scotland during 1996-2010 and had (1) remained in follow-up for at least 6 months, (2) acquired HCV through either injecting drugs or blood transfusion, and (3) an estimated date of acquiring infection. Predictors of cirrhosis were determined from multivariate logistic regression. Regression parameters were used to determine the fraction of cirrhosis attributable to heavy alcohol use. Among 1,620 patients, 9% were diagnosed with cirrhosis, and 34% had ever engaged in heavy alcohol use (>50 units/week for a sustained period). Significant predictors of cirrhosis were age, duration of infection, and ever heavy alcohol use.
- hepatitis C