HCV infection tied to increased risk of fractures

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Patients with HCV infection are more likely to have osteoporotic fractures, according to a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 3 cohort studies (n=362,285) identified through a literature search on the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases.

In a random-effect model, the analysis revealed a significantly higher risk for osteoporotic fracture among patients with HCV infection compared with non-infected individuals (relative risk, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.09-2.14).

The precise mechanisms underlying this association are not fully understood. It is possible that chronic liver disease associated with HCV may result in abnormal bone metabolism. Alternatively, chronic inflammation in patients with HCV infection could have an adverse effect on bone metabolism.

"Based on our findings, we recommend routine screening for osteoporosis using bone mineral density scan and early bisphosphonate therapy for preventing subsequent fractures in patients with HCV infection," the authors said.