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Keywords:

  • chronic liver disease;
  • hepatitis C;
  • quality of life

Abstract: A number of different studies have shown a clear reduction in the quality of life of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related liver-disease patients. Quality of life can be assessed by means of both generic and specific instruments, depending on the aim of the study and the population being studied. The application of a specific instrument to patients with liver diseases provides a broader assessment of different parameters related to hepatic disorders. In hepatitis C, alterations such as the stigma of liver disease, concerns about the disease and symptoms of the disease could be demonstrated with this type of instrument. The impact of the diagnosis of hepatitis C, a potentially serious disease, and the presence of comorbidities such as alcohol and drugs may lead to lower quality of life. Longitudinal studies have proved that, following diagnosis, the stigma of liver disease becomes more apparent over time. Women report worse quality of life than men, supporting that gender differences in hepatitis are also important when assessing quality of life. Alterations in the quality of life of patients submitted to treatment are mainly related to the somatic side effects of Interferon and Ribavirin and are most noticeable in the first weeks of therapy. Early improvement in the quality of life of patients who become HCV-RNA negative suggests that the virus itself plays a biological role. There is no doubt that liver transplantation leads to an improvement in quality of life. Nevertheless, a major concern is the relapse of HCV, with the associated lower quality of life.