EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines

Introduction

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the main causes of chronic liver disease worldwide [1]. The long-term hepatic impact of HCV infection is highly variable, from minimal changes to chronic hepatitis, extensive fibrosis, and cirrhosis with or without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The number of chronically infected persons worldwide may exceed 200 million, but most of them have no knowledge of their infection or of the ensuing hepatic condition. Clinical care for patients with HCV-related liver disease has advanced considerably during the last two decades, as a result of growing knowledge about the mechanisms of the disease, remarkable developments in diagnostic procedures, and advances in therapeutic and preventative approaches. Still, various aspects are not yet completely resolved.

These EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) are intended to assist physicians and other healthcare providers, as well as patients and interested individuals, in the clinical decision-making process by describing optimal management of patients with acute and chronic HCV infections. These guidelines apply to therapies that are approved at the time of their publication. Several new therapeutic options have completed phase III development for patients infected with HCV genotype 1 and are currently awaiting licensing and approval in Europe and the United States. Therefore, the EASL CPGs on the management of HCV infection will be updated on a regular basis upon approval of additional novel therapies.