HCV infection ups risk of gallstones in patients with chronic liver disease
In patients with chronic liver disease (CLD), concurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection appears to increase the risk of developing gallstones, a recent China study has shown.
Outcomes in 267 CLD patients with gallstones (median age 61 years; 42.7 percent male) were compared with outcomes in 1,015 CLD patients without gallstones (controls; median age 56 years; 43.6 percent male). Logistic regression analysis was used to calculate for the odds ratios [ORs] of the comparisons.
Multivariable adjusted analysis showed that participants with liver cirrhosis had a significantly higher risk of gallstones than those without cirrhosis (adjusted OR, 2.343; 95 percent CI, 1.710–3.211; p<0.001). The likelihood of developing gallstones was similarly higher in those with HCV-related vs hepatitis B-related CLD (adjusted OR, 1.582; 1.066–2.347; p=0.023).
Age also appeared to be a significant factor, with those ≥60 years of age being at elevated risks of gallstones relative to their younger counterparts (adjusted OR, 1.848; 1.378–2.477; p<0.001).
Researchers then restricted analysis to the CLD patients with liver cirrhosis. In this subpopulation, HCV-related CLD (adjusted OR, 1.601; 1.063–2.413; p=0.024) and age ≥60 years (adjusted OR, 1.712; 1.181–2.481; p=0.005) remained as significant risk factors for gallstone development. On the other hand, cirrhosis severity was unrelated to gallstone development, regardless of age.
“[T]he risk of gallstone development in Chinese CLD patients was significantly associated with the occurrence of liver cirrhosis, older age and HCV infection. Furthermore, patients infected with HCV formed more gallstones than did patients infected with HBV,” said researchers.