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Fatigue and psychological disorders in chronic hepatitis C


Dr Jennifer A McDonald, Department of Gastroenterology, Private Mail Bag 8808, South Coast Mail Center 2521, Email:


Background and Aim Most patients with chronic hepatitis C report that they suffer from fatigue. The aim of this study was to determine if the symptom of fatigue can be a guide to indicate disease activity in chronic hepatitis C, or if it is related to psychological factors.

Methods 115 chronic hepatitis C patients attending a liver clinic at Wollongong Hospital, Wollongong, Australia, were asked to fill out a questionnaire on the functional impact of their fatigue, and a questionnaire on psychological parameters. These were correlated with a history of intravenous drug use, alcohol history, transaminase levels and liver biopsy findings.

Results Fatigue weakly correlated with the level of fibrosis on the liver biopsy, but strongly correlated with all the psychological domains of depression, anxiety, somatization, interpersonal sensitivity and hostility.

Conclusion The level of fatigue strongly correlated with all the psychological domains, particularly depression, and not with our measures of disease activity.