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Association Between Hepatitis C Virus and Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Fabrizio Fabrizi, Francesca M. Donato, Piergiorgio Messa


Introduction and aim. The role of hepatitis C virus infection as a risk factor for the development and progression of chronic kidney disease in the general population remains unclear. Material and methods. A systematic review of the published medical literature was performed to assess whether positive anti-HCV serologic status is associated with higher frequency of chronic kidney disease in the adult general population. We used a random-effects model to generate a summary estimate of the relative risk of chronic kidney disease (defined by lowered glomerular filtration rate or detectable proteinuria) with HCV across the published studies. Meta-regression and stratified analysis were also carried out. Results. Forty studies were eligible (n = 4,072,867 patients), and separate meta-analyses were conducted according to the outcome. Pooling results of longitudinal studies (n = 15 studies, n = 2,299,134 unique patients) demonstrated an association between positive anti-HCV serologic status and increased incidence of CKD, the summary estimate for adjusted HR with HCV across the surveys, 1.54 (95% CI, 1.26; 1.87) (P < 0.001). Between-study heterogeneity was observed (Q value by Chi-squared [χ2] test 500.3, P < 0.0001). The risk of chronic kidney disease related to HCV, in the subset of surveys from Asia was 1.45 (1.27; 1.65) (P < 0.001) (no heterogeneity). According to our meta-regression, ageing (P < 0.0001) and duration of follow-up (P < 0.0001) increased the risk of chronic kidney disease among HCV-positive subjects. We observed a relationship between anti-HCV positive serologic status and frequency of proteinuria, adjusted effect estimate of proteinuria with HCV among surveys was 1.633 (95% CI, 1,29; 2.05) (P < 0.001) (n = 10 studies; 315,404 unique patients). However, between-studies heterogeneity was noted (P value by Q test < 0.0001). Conclusion. An association between HCV infection and increased risk of chronic kidney disease in the general population exists. The mechanisms underlying such association are currently under active investigation.

Key words. Chronic renal insufficiency., Hepatitis C., Interferons., Meta-Analysis., Renal dialysis.

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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