Individuals with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis who are cured of hepatitis C virus (HCV) often experience regression of liver damage, improving by at least one fibrosis score, reports. Researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of data from 100 people with such advanced liver damage—35 had advanced fibrosis and 65 had cirrhosis at the outset—who achieved a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12, considered a cure) after hep C treatment.

Findings were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) in San Francisco.

There are five stages of fibrosis, F0 through F5, the latter of which is synonymous with cirrhosis.

Sixty-nine percent of those with advanced fibrosis at the outset improved by at least one stage of fibrosis, while 14 percent experienced no such change and 17 percent progressed to cirrhosis. Fifty-five percent of those with cirrhosis at the outset regressed to advanced fibrosis or lower, while 45 percent experienced no change. Between the two groups, 60 percent improved, 34 percent saw no change and 6 percent worsened.

The median time before those with advanced fibrosis at the outset experienced improvement in their fibrosis stage was 2.5 years. The comparable time was three years for those with cirrhosis at the outset.

Having diabetes or varices (enlarged veins in the stomach or esophagus) was linked with a smaller likelihood of liver health improvement.

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