Sara Ramponi, Laura Balzarini, Chiara Mancini, Maurizio Marvisi
European Respiratory Journal 2016 48: OA255; DOI: 10.1183/13993003.congress-2016.OA255
It has been suggested that chronic and latent viral infection may increase the risk for development of COPD. This prospective five year longitudinal study was designed to determine if chronic HCV infection is associated with an accelerated decline in lung function in healthy non-smoking subjects. We studied 50 consecutive HCV positive subjects (second-generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) , the mean age was 47±17 yrs, 34 were male. We excluded patients with asthma, COPD and chronic lung diseases. They were free of pulmonary symptoms and had a negative history for occupational exposure. The control group was of 30 non-smoking healthy subjects matched for age and sex. The rate of annual decline in FEV1 was calculated for each subjects. The rate of annual decline in FEV1 during the five years follow-up was significantly higher in HCV patients (Δ FEV1 59.9 mLyear , SD 17.8; p< 0.0001) than in controls (ΔFEV1 31.5 mLyear, SD 7,7).The rate of annual decline in DL,co was similar (ΔDLCO, 3.37%/yr [SD, 0.25])in HCV group versus ( ΔDLCO, 2.63%/yr [SD, 0.30]) in controls. Our findings suggest that chronic HCV infection might accelerate decline in lung function. The cellular mechanisms predisposing those with chronic HCV infection to decline of lung function is unclear.