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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: Moderate, Excessive or Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Each is Significantly Associated with Increased Mortality in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C
Z.M. Younossi; L. Zheng; M. Stepanova; C. Venkatesan, H.M. Mir
March 19, 2013
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Vol. 37; No. 7: P.703-709 (04..13)

Researchers investigated the impact of excessive and moderate alcohol use on persons with chronic hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), using population data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III)-mortality linked files. Of 8,985 participants, 218 had chronic HCV infection. The survey was conducted from 1988 to 1994 to find a representative sample of civilian, non-institutionalized US population. Participants were aged 20–74 years and were divided into four age groups: 20–44, 45–54, 55–64, and 65–74. Researchers reported major racial /ethnic groups and smoking history. Alcohol consumption was assessed during the NHANES III medical examination. Moderate alcohol use was defined as 1–19 grams of alcohol per day, excessive use was 20 grams or greater, while heavy alcohol use was described as 30 grams or more per day. Compared with non-infected participants, those with chronic HCV were more likely to have excessive alcohol consumption; smoke cigarettes; be male, younger than 45 years, and non-Hispanic black; and have diabetes or insulin resistance. The effect of alcohol consumption on mortality was assessed using a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model. Researchers investigated all-cause mortality, liver-related mortality, and cardiovascular mortality. Median follow-up was 162.9 months for patients with chronic HCV and 175.49 for controls. At end of follow-up, 1,320 patients died, including 415 from cardiovascular disease and 32 from liver diseases. Data show that patients with chronic HCV are at increased risk for overall mortality and liver-related mortality. Individuals who excessively consumed alcohol dramatically increased the risk of overall mortality and liver-related mortality. The risk of overall mortality associated with chronic HCV infection also increased with moderate alcohol use of 1–19 grams per day and heavy alcohol consumption of 30 grams or more per day.