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 impact of HCV infection is highly variable, ranging from minimal histological changes to extensive fibrosis and cirrhosis with or without hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The number of chronically infected persons worldwide is estimated to be about 160 million, but most are unaware of their infection. The implementation of extended criteria for screening for HCV is a subject of major debate among different stakeholders. Clinical care for patients with HCV-related liver disease has advanced considerably during the last two decades, thanks to an enhanced understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease, and because of developments in diagnostic procedures and improvements in therapy and prevention.
These EASL Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C are intended to assist physicians and other healthcare providers, as well as patients and other interested individuals, in the clinical decision-making process by describing the current optimal management of patients with acute and chronic HCV infections. These recommendations apply to therapies that have been approved in the European Union at the time of their publication.