Those who receive optimum hepatitis C virus (HCV) care are much more likely to undergo antiviral treatment, complete their treatment and achieve a sustained virological response (SVR), according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. The most significant factor associated with increased treatment and cure rates was the care offered by providers before treatment for hep C.

A consortium of researchers analyzed data from almost 35,000 hepatitis C patients, drawn from the 2003 to 2006 records of the Veterans Administration HCV Clinical Case Registry. The scientists compared the relationship of optimum versus sub-optimum care in three categories—pretreatment care, preventative or comorbidity care, and treatment monitoring—to three separate end points: antiviral treatment, completion of treatment, and SVR.

Compared with patients who received sub-optimum care, those who received optimum pre-treatment care were more than three times more likely to undergo antiviral treatment, 25 percent more likely to complete treatment, and 29 percent more likely to experience an SVR. Optimum preventative or comorbidity care was associated with a 36 percent increase in antiviral treatment rates. The study’s authors stressed that health care providers should use these findings to help guide clinical practice.

To read a copy of the study abstract, click here.