Hepatitis Delta Is a Major Determinant of Liver Decompensation Events and Death in HIV-Infected Patients

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Background. Coinfection with hepatitis viruses is common in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and has become a leading cause of complications and death in those receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods. We retrospectively examined the effect of coinfection with hepatitis B, C, and/or D viruses (HBV, HCV, HDV, respectively) on liver decompensation events (ascites, variceal bleeding, encephalopathy, and/or hepatocellular carcinoma) and liver-related mortality in HIV-positive patients on regular follow-up since the year 2004 at a reference HIV clinic in Madrid, Spain.

Results. A total of 1147 HIV-infected patients (mean age, 42 years; 81% males; 46% intravenous drug users, 85.4% on ART) were analyzed. Mean follow-up was 81.2 ± 17.8 months. At baseline, 521 patients (45.4%) were HCV-antibody positive, 85 (7.4%) were hepatitis B surface antigen positive, and 17 (1.5%) were anti-HDV positive. A total of 233 HIV/HCV-coinfected patients received antiviral therapy for HCV, of whom 106 (45%) achieved sustained virologic response (SVR). Overall, 15 patients died of liver-related complications and 26 developed hepatic decompensation events. Taking as controls the 524 HIV-monoinfected patients, HDV coinfection (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR], 7.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.84–30.8; P = .005) and baseline liver stiffness (AHR, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.07–1.13; P < .0001) were associated with a higher rate of liver-related morbidity and mortality. In contrast, SVR following hepatitis C therapy in HIV/HCV-coinfected patients was protective (AHR, 0.11; 95% CI, .01–.86; P = .03).

Conclusions. Hepatitis delta is associated with a high rate of death and liver decompensation events in HIV-infected patients on ART.

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