Background. Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver disease worldwide. It has been associated with decreased health-related quality of life (HRQL) and psychiatric symptoms. Our aim was to assess HRQL, depression, and illness understanding in patients with chronic hepatitis C without previous interferon therapy. Methods. Consecutive patients attending a referral center were enrolled. HRQL was measured using SF-36 questionnaire, depression with Zung self-rating depression scale, and illness understanding with self-applied knowledge test. Results. Of 157 patients enrolled, 112 were female (71%) and 45 male (29%). Ninety-seven patients (61.8%) had cirrhosis. HRQL was significantly decreased in chronic hepatitis C patients compared to historical normal controls in all eight domains of the SF-36 (p < 0.001). In hepatitis C cirrhotic patients, HRQL was significantly lower among Child-Pugh class B and C subjects in domains reflecting physical health (p <0.05). Ninety-two patients (58.6%) had depression that resulted in lower HRQL when compared to nondepressed patients (p <0.05). One hundred fourteen patients (72.6%) had poor illness understanding of hepatitis C. These subjects had significantly lower HRQL scores in six of eight SF-36 domains when compared to patients with better understanding of the disease (p <0.05). Conclusions. Chronic hepatitis C patients attending a tertiary-referral center had significant decrease in HRQL associated with depression (58.6%) and poor illness understanding (72.6%). Educational programs and their impact on HRQL need to be addressed in detail, particularly for the pre-treatment scenario.
- Chronic hepatitis C
- Health-related quality of life
- SF-36 questionnaire
- Zung self-rating depression scale
ASJC Scopus subject areas