09 January 2002
Med Sci Monit 2002; 8(1): CR31-36 :: ID: 420966
BACKGROUND: The purpose of our research was to determine the prevalenceof cryoglobulins in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) at different levels of activity and stageof fibrosis and to identify their association with the extrahepatic clinical manifestations. MATERIAL/METHODS:87 patients with CHC were investigated for the presence of cryoglobulins. Cryocrit was measured by theWeiner method. AntiHCV, HCV RNR, conventional biochemical tests and liver biopsy were also performed.RESULTS: Cryoglobulins were found in a total of 44 patients: 16 from Group I, 11 from Group II, and 17from Group III. A low level of cryoglobulinemia (Cg) (cryocritL2%) was detected in 16 patients: 9 fromGroup I, 3 from Group II, and 4 from Group III. Moreover, a high Cg (cryocrit >5-10%) or very high Cg(cryocrit >10%) was found in a total of 13 patients: 1 patient from Group I, 3 from Group II, and 9 fromGroup III. Cryo positivity was found in 5 patients with F 1-2, in 13 with F 2-3, in 4 with F 3-4, andin 17 with F 4. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings confirmed the high prevalence of Cg in CHC patients in Lithuania,a clear association between Cg and the stage of fibrosis, the higher prevalence of Cg in cirrhotic patients,and the occurrence of several typical extrahepatic manifestations. The impact of Cg on the course ofchronic hepatitis C is not clearly understood; therefore, further studies are needed to clarify thisissue.
Keywords: cryoglobulinemia, Cryoglobulins, Fibrosis, Hepatitis C, Liver
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