Liver cirrhosis in HIV-infected patients: prevalence, aetiology and clinical outcome

2008 Journal of viral hepatitis 15, 3 (165-172)

Liver disease is frequently seen in HIV+ patients as a result of coinfection with hepatitis B (HBV) or C (HCV) viruses, alcohol abuse and/or exposure to hepatotoxic drugs. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of liver cirrhosis, its main causes and clinical presentation in HIV+ patients. Observational, cross-sectional, retrospective study of all HIV+ individuals followed at one reference HIV outpatient clinic in Madrid. Liver fibrosis was measured in all cases using transient elastometry (FibroScan). All 2168 HIV+ patients on regular follow-up (76% males, 46% injecting drug users) were successfully examined by FibroScan) between October 2004 and August 2006. Liver cirrhosis was recognized in 181 (overall prevalence, 8.3%), and the main aetiologies were HCV, 82.3%; HBV, 1.6%; dual HBV/HCV, 2.8%; and triple HBV/HCV/ hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection, 6.6%. The prevalence of cirrhosis differed among patients with distinct chronic viral hepatitis: HCV, 19.2%; HBV, 6.1%; HBV/HCV, 41.7%; and HBV/HCV/HDV, 66.7%. In 12 patients with cirrhosis (6.7%), no definite aetiology was recognized. Overall, cirrhotics had lower mean CD4 counts than noncirrhotics (408 vs 528 cells/microL respectively; P = 0.02), despite similar proportion of subjects with undetectable viraemia on highly active antiretroviral therapy. Clinical manifestations of liver cirrhosis were: splenomegaly, 61.5%; oesophageal varices, 59.8%; ascites, 22.6%; encephalopathy, 12.1%; and variceal bleeding, 6.1%. Liver cirrhosis and hepatic decompensation events are relatively frequent in HIV+ individuals. Chronic HCV and alcohol abuse, but not chronic HBV, play a major role. Transient elastometry may allow the identification of a significant number of HIV+ individuals with asymptomatic liver cirrhosis.

Pubmed : 18233989