Table of Contents
Hepatitis Research and Treatment
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7629318, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7629318
Review Article

Atherosclerosis as Extrahepatic Manifestation of Chronic Infection with Hepatitis C Virus

4th Department of Internal Medicine, “Evangelismos” General Hospital, 45-47 Ipsilantou Street, 106 76 Athens, Greece

Received 11 October 2015; Accepted 20 December 2015

Academic Editor: Man-Fung Yuen

Copyright © 2016 Theodoros Voulgaris and Vassilios A. Sevastianos. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, as a result of progression towards advanced natural course stages including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. On the other hand, the SVR following successful therapy is generally associated with resolution of liver disease in patients without cirrhosis. Patients with cirrhosis remain at risk of life-threatening complications despite the fact that hepatic fibrosis may regress and the risk of complications such as hepatic failure and portal hypertension is reduced. Furthermore, recent data suggest that the risk of HCC and all-cause mortality is significantly reduced, but not eliminated, in cirrhotic patients who clear HCV compared to untreated patients and nonsustained virological responders. Data derived from studies have demonstrated a strong link between HCV infection and the atherogenic process. Subsequently HCV seems to represent a strong, independent risk factor for coronary heart disease, carotid atherosclerosis, stroke, and, ultimately, CVD related mortality. The advent of new direct acting antiviral therapy has dramatically increased the sustained virological response rates of hepatitis C infection. In this scenario, the cardiovascular risk has emerged and represents a major concern after the eradication of the virus which may influence the life expectancy and the quality of patients’ life.