(HealthDay News) — Platelet counts rise among patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who experience a sustained virological response (SVR) to antiviral therapy, according to research published online December 8 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Adriaan J. van der Meer, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to assess changes in platelet counts and spleen size following antiviral therapy for chronic HCV infection in 464 patients with advanced fibrosis.
The researchers found that 353 patients (76%) had cirrhosis and 187 patients (40%) achieved SVR. Median platelet count increased by 35 × 109/L (P < 0.001) for patients with SVR, and decreased by 17 × 109/L (P < 0.001) for patients without SVR. In a subgroup of 209 patients, median decrease in spleen size was 1.0 cm for patients with SVR compared and 0.6 cm in those without SVR (P < 0.001). A significant correlation was observed between changes in spleen size and platelet count (P < 0.001).
“Among chronic HCV-infected patients with advanced hepatic fibrosis, the platelet counts improved following SVR, and the change in platelets correlated with the change in spleen size following antiviral therapy,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.