Background. In 1992, the characteristics of liver cirrhosis in Italy were assessed in a cross-sectional study among 1829 cirrhosis patients attending 21 tertiary centres. Aim. To evaluate the characteristics of cirrhosis patients 9 years later. Patients. A total of 2185 consecutive cirrhosis patients were enrolled over a 6-month period in 79 hospitals located throughout Italy, randomly selected by means of systematic cluster sampling. Results. The main agent associated with cirrhosis was hepatitis C virus, which was found in 69.9% of the patients and was the only etiologic factor in 51.1% of the patients. Hepatitis B surface antigen was present in the serum of 13.0% of the cases (in 7.3%, it was the only etiologic factor). A history of alcohol abuse was found in 31.9% of the cases (12.4% without viral infection). Patients with hepatitis C virus-related cirrhosis were older (mean age of 64.4 years) and more likely to be female (male:female ratio of 0.7), compared to patients with other pathogenic factors. Virus-related cirrhosis was more likely to be observed in southern Italy, whereas alcohol-related cirrhosis was prevalent in the North. Conclusions. As found in the 1992 study, the results of the present study show that in Italy, liver cirrhosis is mainly associated with hepatitis C virus infection, reflecting the high prevalence of this infection in the general population.
|Numero di pagine||5|
|Rivista||Digestive and Liver Disease|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2004|
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