Background/Aim: To evaluate long-term outcomes in decompensated HCV-related cirrhotic patients treated with antiviral therapy. Methods: Of 129 eligible patients, 66 received peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin for 24 weeks, and 63 were controls. Survival and recurrence of liver failure events after therapy were main outcomes. Results: Therapy was tolerated by 27 patients, dose reduced in 26 for toxicity, and discontinued in 13 for intolerance. End-of-therapy and sustained virological response (SVR) rates were 82.6% and 43.5% for HCV 2/3 patients, and 30.2% and 7.0% for HCV 1/4 patients. During therapy, odds ratios for severe infections or deaths due to infection were 2.95 (95% C.I. 0.93-9.3) and 1.97 (95% C.I. 0.40-9.51) in treated patients as compared with controls. During a follow-up of 30 months off-therapy, decompensated events occurred in 52, 33, and 3 of controls, non-responders, and SVR patients. Odds ratios for ascites, encephalopathy, and oesophageal bleeding in treated patients significantly decreased as compared with controls. Annualized incidence of death was 2.34, 1.91, and 0 per 1000 patient-years, respectively, in controls, non-responders, and SVR patients. Survival curves showed early separation of SVR patients from both non-responders and controls at approximately 6 months. Conclusions: In decompensated cirrhotics, HCV clearance by therapy is life-saving and reduces disease progression.
- Antiviral therapy
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