To determine the health care follow-up and treatment associated with physician-diagnosed hepatitis C (HCV) in a community-based population.We conducted a retrospective medical record review using records from all providers in Olmsted County, Minnesota.The study incorporated all Olmsted County residents with physician-diagnosed hepatitis C from 1990 through 1999.We assessed demographic and health status information as well as health services use in subjects with physician-diagnosed HCV.Physicians diagnosed hepatitis C in 355 subjects (219 men [62%], 136 women [38%]), mean age 43 years, in the 10-year period studied. About half of diagnoses (45%, n = 159) were confirmed with polymerase chain reaction or liver biopsies. Identified risk factors included IV drug use (50%), multiple sex partners (36%), and blood transfusion (30%). Follow-up assessment with aspartate aminotransferase/amino alanine transferase (AST/ALT) tests occurred in about half (49%) of subjects, while 202 subjects (60%) were referred for gastrointestinal (GI) specialist evaluation and 49 patients (14% of all, 25% of those referred to a GI specialist) had specific treatment for hepatitis C. Although well over half of patients (60%) had possible contraindications to HCV treatment, including heavy alcohol use, few were referred for chemical dependency therapy.In this community, follow-up and treatment related to HCV were limited. Attention to prevention of disease-accelerating co- infections was only modest. Referral or documented recommendations for treatment of alcoholism or heavy chronic alcohol ingestion were minimal.
View details for Web of Science ID 000173776900006
View details for PubMedID 11978211