Reversible autonomic dysfunction during antiviral treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection

János Osztovits, Evelin Horváth, Judit Tax, Levente Csihi, Tamás Horváth, Levente Littvay, Tamás Tóth, Margit Abonyi, Péter L. Lakatos, Márk Kollai, János Fehér, Ferenc Szalay, Hubert E. Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The first clinical sign of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can be one of the various extrahepatic manifestations. During antiviral treatment, symptoms of HCV-associated neuropathies usually improve, but can also worsen and lead to discontinuation of anti-HCV therapy. Recently, we have reported autonomic dysfunction in patients with HCV infection. Objectives: In the present prospective study, we analyzed the changes of autonomic function during anti-HCV treatment. Patients and Methods: Cardiovagal autonomic function was assessed in 22 HCV RNA-positive, treatment-naive patients by determining heart rate variability (HRV) and baroreflex sensitivity (BRS), at the beginning of treatment and 12, 24 and 48 weeks of antiviral therapy. interferon alfa-2 and ribavirin were given according to the guidelines. Results: Both HRV and BRS time and frequency domain indices decreased after 12 weeks of therapy compared to the pre-treatment values; then the mean±SD values increased significantly by week 24 and continued to improve by week 48 of therapy-253.0±156.1 ms before therapy vs 111.6±81.9 at week 12, and 183.4±169.6 at week 24 vs 211.6±149.1 ms at week 48 for low-frequency HRV index; p<0.05 for all comparisons). These changes were independent from the presence of cryoglobulins and from virologic response. Conclusions: The first rise followed by reversible autonomic dysfunction during antiviral therapy may be caused by the immunomodulatory actions of interferon alfa-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-118
Number of pages5
JournalHepatitis Monthly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2011


  • Antiviral treatment
  • Autonomic dysfunction
  • Hepatitis C virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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