Sat, May 18, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Doctors say hepatitis linked to heart issues

CHRONIC CONDITION:A study showed that people with chronic hepatitis C were 1.3 times more likely to develop acute coronary syndrome or have an ischemic stroke

By Wu Liang-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital cardiologist Wu Chien-chia speaks at the hospital in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wu Liang-chi, Taipei Times

Doctors at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei on Thursday warned that people with chronic hepatitis B or C should watch for signs of cardiovascular disease, especially heart attacks.

Cardiologist Wu Chien-chia (吳健嘉) said that the hospital admitted a 62-year-old man surnamed Chang (張) who complained of sweating at night and chronic chest pain.

Chang had no medical history of the “three hypers” — hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia and hypertension — but is a carrier of hepatitis C, Wu said.

Evidence shows that chronic hepatitis can lead to a heart attack from atherosclerosis, he said.

A six-and-a-half-year study surveyed the National Health Insurance records of 12,000 hepatitis B and C carriers, tracking the condition of their arteries, he said.

The study showed that people with chronic hepatitis C were 1.3 times more likely to develop acute coronary syndrome and acute ischemic stroke — characterized by a sudden loss of blood circulation in the brain — and had a mortality rate 1.48 times that of people with hepatitis B, Wu said.

While the data did not show that people with chronic hepatitis B exhibit a significantly greater chance of a heart attack, there was still debate over the matter among medical experts, he said.

The study also showed that people with chronic hepatitis C are 1.77 times more susceptible to severe dysrhythmia, Wu added.

People with chronic hepatitis B were more prone to cirrhosis and 100 times more susceptible to liver cancer than non-carriers, Wu said.

While hepatitis C is treatable, Wu said that people who do not recover within six months could develop chronic conditions, with 5 to 20 percent developing cirrhosis in 15 to 20 years.

About 15 percent of those people die from cirrhosis or liver cancer, he said, adding that people should get regular checkups and adhere to doctors’ advice regarding treatment.

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