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Hepatitis C (cont.)

Hepatitis C Prognosis

Hepatitis C varies greatly in its long-term effects.

  • Most people never develop severe complications of the disease.
  • Approximately 15% to 30% of chronically infected people go on to develop cirrhosis.
  • Cirrhosis from chronic hepatitis C can lead to liver failure. If damage is severe, liver transplantation is the only treatment.
  • Inflammation of the liver and cirrhosis from chronic hepatitis C may lead to liver cancer.

A small number of people with hepatitis C develop complications outside the liver. These may affect the skin and connective tissues of the body, the blood or bone marrow, the muscles, the joints, or the kidneys.


Jensen DM. A new era of hepatitis C therapy begins. N Engl J Med. 2011 Mar 31;364(13):1272-4.

Rosen HR. Clinical practice. Chronic hepatitis C infection. N Engl J Med. 2011 Jun 23;364(25):2429-38

Previous contributing authors and editors: Author: Sandeep Mukherjee, MD, MB, BCh, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Editors: Simmy Bank, MD, MB, ChB, Chair, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Long Island Jewish Hospital, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine

Last Editorial Review: 10/11/2011

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The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 170 million individuals worldwide are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV).

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