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Hepatitis C virus infection and the risk of coronary disease.

Butt AA, Xiaoqiang W, Budoff M, Leaf D, Kuller LH, Justice AC. Hepatitis C virus infection and the risk of coronary disease. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 2009 Jul 15; 49(2):225-32.

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BACKGROUND: The association between hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and coronary artery disease (CAD) is controversial. We conducted this study to determine and quantify this association. METHODS: We used an established, national, observational cohort of all HCV-infected veterans receiving care at all Veterans Affairs facilities, the Electronically Retrieved Cohort of HCV Infected Veterans, to identify HCV-infected subjects and HCV-uninfected control subjects. We used the Cox proportional-hazards model to determine the risk of CAD among HCV-infected subjects and control subjects. RESULTS: We identified 82,083 HCV-infected and 89,582 HCV-uninfected subjects. HCV-infected subjects were less likely to have hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes but were more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and to have renal failure and anemia. HCV-infected subjects had lower mean (+/- standard deviation) total plasma cholesterol (175 +/- 40.8 mg/dL vs. 198 +/- 41.0 mg/dL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (102 +/- 36.8 mg/dL vs. 119 +/- 38.2 mg/dL), and triglyceride (144 +/- 119 mg/dL vs. 179 +/- 151 mg/dL) levels, compared with HCV-uninfected subjects (P < .001 for all comparisons). In multivariable analysis, HCV infection was associated with a higher risk of CAD (hazard ratio, 1.25; 95% confidence interval, 1.20-1.30). Traditional risk factors (age, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia) were associated with a higher risk of CAD in both groups, whereas minority race and female sex were associated with a lower risk of CAD. CONCLUSIONS: HCV-infected persons are younger and have lower lipid levels and a lower prevalence of hypertension. Despite a favorable risk profile, HCV infection is associated with a higher risk of CAD after adjustment for traditional risk factors.

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