Background and Objectives: In India, approximately 1.8% - 2.5% of the population is currently infected by HCV and about 20 million people are already infected with HCV. There is increasing evidence that chronic liver disease is one of the risk factors for gallstone disease. A few published studies have documented the link between Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) related chronic liver disease and increased incidence of gallstones but these studies did not exclude subjects with other risk factors like cirrhosis. Very few studies were done in India demonstrating association of HCV hepatitis with gallstones, and hence due to paucity of studies we intend to assess the association and risk factors for gallstone disease in patients with HCV hepatitis. This study aimed to establish an association between HCV infection and gallstones by excluding subjects with all other risk factors for gallstones.
Methodology: 50 patients admitted to IP surgical wards with diagnosis of hepatitis c will be selected for the study using purposive sampling technique. However as many patients during study period may be admitted in study. These patients will be evaluated by a detailed history regarding the age, sex, personal history, past history and clinical examination including general physical examination, and systemic examination.
Results: Patients suffering from HCV had a significantly high percentage of gallstones as compared to seronegative subjects (p = 0.001). In seropositive group, more males had gallstones (p = < 0.001) and prevalence of gallstones was significantly high in younger population with age at or below 40 years (p = < 0.001). Among them the prevalence of gallstone disease in HCV was found to be higher in older age group >50 years, 11 out of 16 positive patients with gallstones. Patients with HCV hepatitis and gallstone disease had a higher percentage of abdominal obesity (BMI >25kg/m2 plus a greater waist circumference and liver steatosis. No differences were found in the association in the association of arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.
Conclusion: The study shows HCV patients have an increased prevalence of gallstones. It is present in older age group and has association with central obesity and liver steatosis and not related to diabetes mellitus, dyslipedemia or metabolic syndrome. This association of HCV infection and gallstone disease is real and appears linked in predisposed individuals namely obese and with liver steatosis.