A high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been reported among idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) patients. We examined the prevalence of DCM patients with HCV antibody, and the pathophysiological characteristics and responsiveness to neurohormonal antagonism in DCM with HCV. HCV antibodies were determined in 540 patients with cardiac diseases. In 117 DCM patients, clinicopathologic data were evaluated before and 1 year after angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor and/or beta-blocker (ACE-inhibitor/BB) administration and their prognosis was followed-up for a mean of 72 ± 41 months. HCV antibodies were found in 12 of 135 DCM patients (8.9%) and in 37 of 405 patients without DCM (9.1%) (P = NS). At baseline, contrary to DCM without HCV, DCM with HCV was associated (P < 0.05) with greater left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic and end-systolic dimension, LV mass, and myocardial diameter in endomyocardial biopsy, and lower % fractional shortening. By multivariate analysis, HCV infection was independently associated with larger LV end-systolic dimension among DCM patients (P = 0.005). The advanced LV dilatation and hypertrophy in DCM with HCV decreased more in response to the ACE-inhibitor/BB therapy compared to DCM without HCV. There were no differences between DCM patients with and without HCV in survival and cardiac event-free rates. In summary, although HCV infection appears not to be the specific cause of DCM, HCV may enhance ventricular remodeling leading to heart failure among DCM patients. Nevertheless, the advanced ventricular remodeling with HCV was adequately reversed by neurohormonal antagonism, and did not lead to an unfavorable outcome.
2005 by the International Heart Journal Association