Hepatitis C May Elevate Heart Disease Risk
A study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests those infected with HCV may be at added risk of heart disease. While many participants in the study had HIV in addition to HCV, scientists say the results offer strong evidence that HCV poses risks to the heart independent of HIV.
The study included 994 men, 40 to 70 years of age, who did not have heart disease. Of those involved in the study, 613 were infected with HIV, 70 were infected with both HIV and HCV, and 17 were only infected with HCV.
Participants underwent cardiac CT scans to examine and quantify fat and calcium deposits inside the vessels of their hearts. The research found that patients with HCV were more likely to possess abnormal fat-and-calcium plaques inside their arteries, a condition known as artherosclerosis.
The condition often is a contributing factor in heart attacks and strokes.
“We have strong reason to believe that infection with hepatitis C fuels cardiovascular disease, independent of HIV, and sets the stage for subsequent cardiovascular trouble,” said study principal investigator Eric Seaberg, PhD, in a press release. “We believe our findings are relevant to anyone infected with hepatitis C regardless of HIV status.”