The association between HCV infection and myocardial disorders remains unclear. This study aimed to assess whether or not HCV infection influences myocardial dysfunction by the use of NT-proBNP, a sensitive marker of myocardial dysfunction. A total of 198 participants [99 patients with chronic HCV infection (aged 46-68 years) and 99 anti-HCV-negative sex and age matched controls] were examined. Serum HCV-RNA level and HCV genotype were tested and liver biopsy was done only for the patient group. The NT-proBNP concentration of the HCV patients (mean 71.6 ± 79.1 pg/ml; median 46.0 pg/ml, range 5.0-400.0) was significantly higher than that of the controls (mean 39.8 ± 24.4 pg/ml; median 35.8 pg/ml, range 7.0-108.0) (P < 0.05). 20.0 % of the HCV patients and 0.6 % of the controls had high NT-proBNP (higher than 125 pg/ml; the single cut off point for patients under 75 years of age) (P < 0.05). Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that chronic HCV infection was independently correlated with NT-proBNP level after adjustment for parameters that might influence NT-proBNP (P = 0.005). Our data suggest that chronic HCV infection is associated with increased NT-proBNP, indicating that chronic HCV infection might induce myocardial dysfunction.
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