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Given recent profound improvements in the effectiveness of antiviral treatment for chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, we aimed to describe the characteristics of patients referred to hepatology expert centres in France from 2000 to 2007 and from 2010 to 2014, and to identify factors associated with severe liver disease at their first visit for evaluation. We analysed data from two sources covering all of France: the former hepatitis C surveillance network, which included patients between 2000 and 2007, and the ANRS CO22 HEPATHER multi-centre cohort, which included patients between 2012 and 2014. Severe liver disease (SLD) was defined as the presence of either cirrhosis (histological, biochemical or clinical) or hepatocellular carcinoma. Multivariable Poisson regression models were used to identify the factors associated with SLD in complete-case analysis and after multiple imputation. Overall, 16,851 patients were included in the analysis and SLD was diagnosed in 11.6%. SLD at first visit was significantly associated with known risk factors (male sex, history of excessive alcohol intake, HCV genotype 3), late referral to hepatologists after diagnosis and HCV diagnosis at an older age. Providing earlier specialised care and treatment may be an important target for public health action.


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