Safe use of pegylated interferon/ribavirin in hepatitis C virus cirrhotic patients with hypersplenism after partial splenic embolization.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Partial splenic embolization (PSE) is a non-surgical alternative for the treatment of hypersplenism. Thrombocytopenia precludes the use of pegylated interferon (peg-IFN) and ribavirin in cirrhotic patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV). We aimed to evaluate the role of PSE as a procedure allowing combined HCV therapy in this setting. METHODS:A retrospective analysis of the safety and rate of sustained virological response (SVR) after a full-dose course of peg-IFN plus ribavirin in eight HCV cirrhotic patients with severe hypersplenism undergoing PSE at a tertiary centre in Madrid, Spain, from May 2002 to August 2004. RESULTS:Six patients (75%) were in Child-Pugh class B (median score 7). PSE significantly improved the mean platelet (P = 0.012), leucocyte (P = 0.017) and haemoglobin (P = 0.035) levels, and prothrombin activity (P = 0.012). After a mean of 20 weeks after PSE all patients started weight-adjusted ribavirin plus peg-IFN-alpha2b (n = 6) or 180 microg/week of peg-IFN-alpha2a (n = 2). Six subjects (75%) completed therapy with no peg-IFN dose reductions; the dose of ribavirin was reduced in two patients reaching haemoglobin levels of less than 10 g/dl (one also received erythropoietin and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor because of neutrophil counts < 300 cells/microl). Three patients (38%) achieved SVR. Portal vein thrombosis was observed in 50% of patients, but did not preclude antiviral therapy. The pathogenic mechanism was multifactorial. It was successfully managed with anticoagulant therapy in two cases. CONCLUSIONS:PSE allowed the safe use of peg-IFN plus ribavirin in HCV cirrhotic patients with severe cytopenias who otherwise would never have been treated. The rate of SVR was 38%.
Foruny, JR; Blázquez, J; Moreno, A; Bárcena, R; Gil-Grande, L; Quereda, C; Pérez-Elías, MJ; Moreno, J; Sánchez, J; Muriel, A; Rodriguez-Sagrado, MA; Moreno, S
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