Limited information is available regarding the histology of hepatitis C virus infection in children. The aim of this study was to determine the histological pattern of chronic hepatitis C (CHC) in children, and liver biopsy specimens from 109 pediatric patients with CHC were examined. Each biopsy specimen was evaluated based on a numerical scoring system for the stage of fibrosis (1-4), the grade of portal/periportal necroinflammation (0-4), the grade of lobular necroinflammation (0-4), and their sum (final grade). The histological lesions considered to be characteristic of chronic hepatitis were also evaluated. None of the children had liver cirrhosis, and 105 cases (97%) were stage 1 or 2. Only 4 children were stage 3. Two of these 4 cases showed hemosiderosis. A significant correlation was observed between the staging score and the final grade in the pediatric patients (r = .59; P < .0001). The histological characteristics of adult CHC, such as lymphoid aggregate, bile duct injury, and fatty changes, were also observed in the children. In conclusion, the majority of children with CHC presented with mild fibrosis, but a few showed CHC with lobular distortion and hemosiderosis. Frequent blood transfusion may aggravate hepatic lesions in pediatric CHC.
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