Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a global health concern, has been linked to various hepatic and extrahepatic deleterious manifestations. Several observational studies have either supported the increased likelihood of coronary and carotid atherosclerosis after infection with HCV or refuted it. To date, there has been no clear consensus to support either train of thought, as randomized, controlled clinical trials have not been completed. In this review, we first discuss articles that support the notion that HCV infection leads to increased plaque formation due to systemic inflammation and then focus on articles that refute this idea. From the literature, we do know that both inflammatory and lipid processes play a role in plaque formation, and thus both components are important in the successful treatment of atherosclerosis. Based on our review of the literature, we do believe that HCV-infected individuals are at an increased risk for more severe coronary artery disease than their healthy counterparts. Although there is no irrefutable evidence that links HCV infection with plaque formation and/or rupture, cardioprotective measures should be taken to reduce poor health outcomes, especially in those individuals who are already at risk of coronary disease.
- carotid atherosclerosis
- coronary artery disease
- hepatitis C virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine