Background:Many types of cardiovascular complications such as; cardiac arrhythmias, impaired cardiac function, myocardial ischemia and decreased left ventricular function, have been attributed to interferon therapy.
Objectives:The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of combination therapy pegylated interferon and ribavirin on left ventricular systolic and diastolic functions in patients with a chronic hepatitis C infection.
Patients and Methods:A total of 120 patients, eligible for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin, were included in this study. All patients underwent a full cardiovascular baseline examination including; detailed medical history, thorough clinical examination, 12 lead electrocardiogram (ECG), and echocardiography. A cardiac evaluation was performed at the beginning and six months after starting combination therapy.
Results:No significant changes regarding cardiac symptoms including; shortness of breath, cough, palpitations, chest pain and hypertension, were found during or six months after starting the combined therapy. ECG findings showed statistically non-significant decreases in the QT interval, while corrected QT showed statistically non-significant increases six months after beginning combined therapy, when compared to their values before treatment. Also with regard to the echocardiography findings, there was no statistically significant difference found between any of the echocardiography parameters six months after starting combined therapy compared to their values before treatment.
Conclusions:The results of our study suggest that, combination therapy does not cause a significant deterioration in cardiac function in patients with a chronic hepatitis C infection, and it may be used safely in patients without cardiac disease.
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