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Emotional distress in chronic hepatitis C patients not receiving antiviral therapy
  J Hepatol 2002 Mar;36(3):401-7
Fontana RJ, Hussain KB, Schwartz SM, Moyer CA, Su GL, Lok AS Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical School, 3912 Taubman Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0362, USA
Background/Aims: The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence, type, and severity of emotional distress in a large group of consecutive chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients not receiving anti-viral therapy.
Methods: The brief symptom inventory and a 67-item questionnaire with the SF-36 embedded within it were used to study 220 outpatients with compensated CHC.
Results: Seventy-seven (35%) participants reported significantly elevated global severity index (GSI) T-scores compared to an expected frequency of 10% in population controls. In addition, significantly elevated depression, anxiety, somatization, psychoticism, and obsessive-compulsive subscale T-scores were reported in 28--40% of subjects. Subjects with an active psychiatric co-morbidity had significantly higher GSI and subscale T-scores compared to subjects with active medical co-morbidities and subjects without medical or psychiatric co-morbidities (P<0.01). However, patients with CHC alone also had a higher frequency of elevated GSI T-scores compared to population controls (20 versus 10%). GSI and subscale T-scores were strongly associated with SF-36 summary scores (P<0.001).
Conclusions: Clinically significant emotional distress was reported in 35% of CHC patients not receiving antiviral therapy. In addition to depression, a broad array of psychological symptoms were observed. Further investigation into the etiopathogenesis and treatment of emotional distress in CHC patients is warranted.
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