Prevalence and incidence of cryoglobulins in hepatitis C virus–related chronic hepatitis patients: a prospective study

Persico, Marcello; De Marino, Fedele Antonio; Di Giacomo Russo, Giovanni; Persico, Eliana; Morante, Aristide; Palmentieri, Bruno; Torella, Roberto
April 2003
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Apr2003, Vol. 98 Issue 4, p884
Academic Journal
: ObjectivesA high prevalence of cryoglobulins has been reported in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and the incidence of cryoglobulins and their association with clinical symptoms in chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis patients.: MethodsThe prevalence of cryoglobulins and cryoglobulinemic syndrome was investigated at enrollment in 237 patients (213 with chronic hepatitis and 24 with cirrhosis). A 7-yr follow-up was conducted evaluating the occurrence of cryoglobulins and/or cryoglobulinemic syndrome every 6 months. Rheumatoid factor was also tested in all patients.: ResultsPrevalence of rheumatoid factor, cryoglobulins, and cryoglobulinemic syndrome in chronic hepatitis patients were 2%, 0.8%, and 0%, respectively. In cirrhosis patients the prevalence was 4%, 8%, and 0%, respectively. No statistically significant differences were found between the two groups. During the follow-up only one patient for each group abruptly developed cryoglobulinemic syndrome, and none of the patients who showed signs of cryoglobulinemia developed the syndrome or showed signs of evolution of the disease.: ConclusionsOur data demonstrate that the presence of cryoglobulins and/or cryoglobulinemic syndrome in HCV-related liver disease is unusual, as is the occurrence of cryoglobulinemia over time in these patients. This leads us to think that HCV-related cryoglobulinemic syndrome and HCV-related liver disease are independent diseases. This supports new and indirect evidence for an independent and direct role of HCV in liver and blood disorders.


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