The aetiology of chronic hepatitis in Italy: Results from a multicentre national study

T. Stroffolini, E. Sagnelli, A. Mele, A. Craxì, P. Almasio, A. Traverso, A. Arrigoni, M. Torchio, P. Garbagnoli, B. Del Mastro, P. Romano, R. Vanni, D. Brusita, P. Meucci, G. Cassola, M. Borzio, A. Bellobuono, A. De Bona, T. Re, P. Del PoggioO. Baisini, A. Colombo, C. Attolini, S. Daria, L. Minoli, V. Gazzaniga, S. Segato, M. Oriolo, A. Parlotto, M. Ghersetti, F. Capra, R. Muratori, C. Sama, S. Boccia, G. Verdianelli, A. Praticò, M. Grandi, E. Ventura, F. Cantoni, A. Vincenti, A. Nerli Alessandro, L. Galeazzi, A. Solinas, M. Paroli, G. M. De Sanctis, S. Sereno, C. Clementi, U. Visco Comandino, A. I. Gallo, D. Festi, G. Sabusco, N. Coppola, C. Scolastico, M. Onofrio, M. Imparato, P. Filippini, F. Morisco, A. Liberti, G. Borgia, F. Scarpellino, M. Persico, C. Sagnelli, C. Coppola, L. Caserta, A. Elia, G. De Vita, A. Lanzotti, L. Pizzolante, V. Messina, G. Fiore, E. Agostinacchio, T. Santantonio, M. Mazzola, F. Vinelli, A. Campagna, S. Cataldini, I. Monelli, M. Lascaro, N. Polimeri, P. Frigiuele, M. Ferraro, T. Prestileo, A. Alessandri, M. Russello Maurizio, P. Bellissima, G. Orifici, G. Pisani, S. Angioini, M. Lai, M. Spanneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: No recent national-level data on the aetiology of chronic hepatitis are available in Italy. Aim: To evaluate the current aetiology of chronic hepatitis in Italy. Patients: A total of 6210 chronic hepatitis patients (both prevalence and incident cases) consecutively admitted to 79 hospitals located throughout Italy were enrolled over a 6-month period in 2001. The hospitals were randomly selected through systematic cluster sampling. Results: The main agent associated with chronic hepatitis was hepatitis C virus, which was found in 76.5% of the patients (in 62.6% it was the only aetiologic factor). Hepatitis B surface antigen was present in the serum of 12.2% of the cases (in 9.2% it was the only aetiologic factor). Hepatitis B e antigen and hepatitis Delta were detected in 16.6% and 7.0%, respectively, of hepatitis B surface antigen-positive patients. A history of alcohol abuse was found in 19.2% of the cases (5.5% without viral infection). Autoimmune hepatitis and inborn metabolic disorders were extremely rare. The prevalence of hepatitis C virus-related cases was significantly lower in incident cases, compared to prevalent cases (55.1% versus 65.0%; p <0.01). The mean alanine aminotransferase level was significantly higher in hepatitis B surface antigen-positive patients, compared to hepatitis B surface antigen-negative patients. The histology was less severe in non-viral-related cases. Conclusions: Hepatitis C virus is the most important pathogenic factor for chronic hepatitis in Italy; however, the comparison between prevalent and incident cases suggests that this infection will play a less important role in the future. A comparison with previous reports shows that both hepatitis B virus-related and hepatitis Delta virus-related cases are decreasing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-833
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Volume36
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Epidemiology
  • Italy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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