HCV tied to greater risks of death, sick sinus syndrome than HBV infections
The risks of death and sick sinus syndrome are higher in patients with hepatitis C (HCV) than hepatitis B (HBV) virus infections, reports a recent Taiwan study.
Accessing electronic medical records from the National Health Insurance Research Database, researchers identified 5,480 HCV (mean age, 52.7±15.1 years; 49.5 percent male) and 5,480 HBV (mean age, 52.5±14.5 years; 50.1 percent male) patients. Primary outcomes were the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias and all-cause mortality. Those with concomitant HBV and HCV, alcohol or drug abuse, cardiomyopathy, and thyroid disease, among other comorbidities, were excluded.
Patients with HCV were significantly more likely to die than their HBV counterparts (hazard ratio [HR], 1.35, 95 percent CI, 1.16–1.58; p<0.001). The likelihood of developing sick sinus syndrome was likewise significantly elevated in HCV participants (HR, 1.77, 1.07–2.91; p=0.025).
On the other hand, while atrial fibrillation occurred more frequently in the HCV group (2.24 percent vs 1.72 percent), the between-group difference in risk was only marginally significant (HR, 1.25, 0.98–1.59; p=0.07).
The effects of HCV infection on the risk of mortality and sick sinus syndrome were robust to subgroup analysis and did not meaningfully change across different strata of gender, age and comorbidities.
The occurrences of supraventricular tachycardia, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and heart block were all comparable between the two groups.
Important limitations of the study included the use of claims-based epidemiological data and the racially homogenous study population, which might limit the generalizability of the findings, said researchers. Future studies should aim to address such weaknesses.