EFFECTS OF INTERFERON THERAPY ON HEART

Abdul Wajid Khan Faisal, Sajid Nisar, Syed Asif Ali, Faheem Ahmad

Abstract


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major health problem worldwide. Around 185 million people are suffering from HCV infection all over the world, out of which 10 million people are residing in Pakistan. 4.7% (2–14% by different studies) of Pakistanis are suffering from this deadly disease. Interferon+Ribavarin IFN/RIB is the mainstay of treatment for this infection. Various cardiovascular adverse reactions have been reported of this therapy. We conducted this study at Punjab Institute of cardiology to look for the cardiac safety of interferon therapy in our population. Methods: We studied HCV infected patients planned for interferon therapy between 21st of November 2012 to 20th of August 2014. Echocardiography was performed before, during and after the completion of therapy. Pegylated interferon once a week plus ribavirin therapy was given to the patients. Patients received 16-40 injections of pegylated interferon depending upon the decision of   hepatologist. Patients with prior structural heart disease, patients who did not start the treatment or patients who did not turn up on follow up were excluded from the study. Results: A total of 102 patients planned to have interferon therapy were screened echocardiographically. One patient died after 5 injections due to infection (a non-cardiac cause). 46 patients completed the treatment and the follow up. None of the patients had any acute cardiac event. All patients had normal biventricular systolic function at the end of study. None of the patients had significant valvular heart disease or pulmonary hypertension. Reversal of E/A ratio or E/A ratio>2, parameters of diastolic dysfunction and mild pericardial effusion were noted in a statistically significant number of patients. Conclusion: Interferon therapy for HCV infection is cardiac safe in patients who have structurally normal heart. Female patients have propensity of adverse events like severe diastolic dysfunction and mild pericardial effusion. The safety of drug in patients already having cardiac ailment needs to be studied. Moreover HCV infection itself is not injurious to the heart.

Keyword HCV infection, Interferon Therapy, Cardiac effects, Echocardiography


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References


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