FibroScan used in street-based outreach for drug users is useful for hepatitis C virus screening and management: a prospective study

2009 Journal of viral hepatitis 16;2 (121-131)

Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection prevalence is high among drug users, they do not commonly receive regular care in academic centres. The aim of this prospective study was to assess the influence of FibroScan use on HCV screening and management in street-based outreach. From January 2006 to January 2007, all consecutive drug users were offered noninvasive evaluation of liver fibrosis with FibroScan. After FibroScan, parameters were recorded with a structured, face-to-face questionnaire by outreach workers. All 298 subjects accepted FibroScan evaluation drug use was--ever injected heroin (69%), ever snorted or injected cocaine (89%), current chronic alcohol abuse (44%). The median FibroScan score was 5.3 kPa. Before blood sampling, 34% of subjects reported HCV positivity. HCV positivity was found in 83 cases. All these subjects had positive HCV-RNA. Forty-five subjects agreed to meet a hepatologist. By multivariate analysis, never snorted cocaine, consumed alcohol 7 years, and FibroScan > 7.1 kPa were significantly associated with HCV positivity. Thus in a street-based outreach service for drug users, the acceptance of FibroScan is excellent. FibroScan with a hospital-based physician may facilitate screening and management of drug users for HCV infection.

Pubmed : 19175876