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Curriculum based clinical reviews
Extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  1. David G Samuel,
  2. Ian W Rees
  1. Department of Gastroenterology, Prince Phillip Hospital, Llanelli, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr D G Samuel, Department of Gastroenterology, Prince Phillip Hospital, Llanelli Sa14 8QF, UK; daisams{at}doctors.org.uk

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an infectious disease that often remains asymptotic and unrecognised until complications of the virus arise. These often include extrahepatic manifestations of the virus, which first bring patients into contact with the medical profession. First recognised in the 1990s several syndromes and conditions have now been linked to hepatitis C, while others are still emerging. In some patients, extrahepatic manifestations can be the dominant feature, while hepatic disease is mild. Some conditions have an established association with the virus with a proven pathophysiological and epidemiology, such as cryoglobulinaemia. Others have consistently been found to be seen in patients with HCV, but the underlying cause of these conditions is not clearly understood. These include porphyria cutanea tarda. Many other autoimmune conditions are commonly seen in the patients with HCV as well as nephropathies, but the exact interplay between virus and resulting clinical condition is not clear. Clinicians have to have a high index of suspicion and a knowledge of the extrahepatic manifestations of HCV in order to not only treat the manifestation but also in initiated timely therapies for the underlying HCV.

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