Clinical Neuroscience

Neurocognitive functions in patients with hepatitis C infection

HORVÁTH Gergely1,2, KELETI Teodóra3, MAKARA Mihály4, UNGVARI S Gabor5, GAZDAG Gábor6,7

JANUARY 30, 2020

Clinical Neuroscience - 2020;73(01-02)


Background - With improving treatment options, more attention is being paid to the neurocognitive symptoms related to hepatitis C infection (HCI). While HCI-related neurocognitive impairments are frequently subclinical, they can influence patients’ quality of life and fitness to work. Objective - The aim of this study was to assess HCI patients’ neurocognitive functions and explore the correlations between disease variables and neurocognitive symptoms. Method - The study was conducted between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015. All patients with HCI were included in the study who were registered at the Hepatology Outpatient Clinic of Szent István and Szent László Hospitals, met inclusion criteria and volunteered to participate. Patients’ sociodemographic data and medical history were recorded in a questionnaire designed for the study. The 21-item Beck Depression Inventory was used to detect depressive symptoms. Six computerized tests were used to evaluate patients’ neuropsychological functions. Results - Sixty patients participated in the study. In comparison with general population standards, patients demonstrated poorer performance in several neurocognitive tests. Neuropsychological performance was correlated with age, sex, length of time since HCI diagnosis, Fibroscan score and the number of previous antiviral treatments. Conclusions - The study’s main finding is that compared to general population standards, patients with hepatitis C virus-related disease exhibit impaired neuropsychological functioning in visuomotor and visuospatial functions, working memory, executive functions, and reaction time. Executive functions and reaction time were the most sensitive indicators for the length and severity of disease. Deterioration in these functions has a major negative effect on work performance particularly in certain occupations.


  1. Drug Focal Point, National Epidemiological Center, Budapest, Hungary
  2. School of Doctoral Studies, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  3. Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  4. Hepatology Outpatient Service, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals, Budapest, Hungary
  5. University of Notre Dame, Australia / Graylands Hospital, Perth, WA, Australia
  6. Consultation-Liaison Psychiatric Service, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals, Budapest, Hungary
  7. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary



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