A national sample of individuals who acquired hepatitis C virus infections in childhood or adolescence: Risk factors for advanced disease

Helen E. Harris*, Giorgina Mieli-Vergani, Deirdre Kelly, Suzanne Davison, Diana M. Gibb, Mary E. Ramsay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To describe hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver disease in a national cohort of patients who acquired their infections in childhood or adolescence and to assess risk factors for progressive disease and response to antiviral therapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Demographic, laboratory, and clinical outcome data on 246 individuals who acquired HCV infection before the age of 16 years were extracted from the UK HCV National Register database. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the independent effects of sex, age, duration and route of infection, and comorbidity on histological stage of liver disease. RESULTS: Median ages at enrollment and follow-up were 14.0 years (range, 2.2-29.6 years) and 19.2 years (range, 2.3-35.5 years), respectively. Mean duration of infection at enrollment was 8.5 years (standard deviation [SD], 3.3 years), and mean duration of follow-up was 4.5 years (SD, 4.5 years). Fifty-nine (24%) had persistently abnormal liver aminotransferase levels; 22% reported physical signs and symptoms of liver disease. Among 123 individuals with liver biopsies, 117 (95%) had abnormal histological findings. Ninety-eight individuals had biopsies referred for independent blind scoring; median Ishak grade and stage scores were 3 and 1, respectively. Presence of comorbidities (odds ratio [OR], 7.19; 95% CI, 2.00-26.17; P = 0.003) and female sex (OR, 0.31; 95% CI, 0.10-1.00; P = 0.05) were independently associated with histological stage scores greater than the median. A total of 110 individuals received antiviral therapy; 47% achieved a sustained response. CONCLUSIONS: HCV-related liver disease in those who acquired the infection in childhood or adolescence was mild for most, although comorbidity and female sex were associated with more advanced disease. Antiviral therapy in childhood or adolescence successfully eradicates the virus for many patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-341
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Natural history
  • Risk factors


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