Early Detection Research Network

Symptomatology and health attitudes of chronic hepatitis B patients in the USA.

This study was conducted to understand the symptomatology, attitudes, and behaviours of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients in the USA. CHB patients enrolled in this study were recruited through multiple methods, including newspaper advertisements. Interviews were conducted in multiple languages, and all participants had a history of CHB infection for at least 6 months. Patients with documented human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis C virus coinfection were excluded from data analyses, resulting in a total study population of 258 respondents who completed interviews between April and June 2004. The majority of monoinfected patients were male (57%) and non-Asian (92%, including 52% Caucasian, 32% African American and others). Length of diagnosis was 5.8 years for all participants (9.1-year Asian and 5.1-year non-Asian). Ninety-five per cent of CHB patients reported symptoms of differing severity in the 12 months prior to the survey. The most common symptoms included fatigue/loss of energy (90%) and loss of appetite (79%). Non-Asian patients described greater symptomatology, and were more likely than Asians to consider CHB an overriding concern in their daily activities. Patients were treated either currently or previously with interferon (IFN) described greater symptomatology than those treated without IFN. Survey results indicate that CHB patients may have greater symptomatology than recognized. Disease perceptions and treatment attitudes differ between Asian and non-Asian ethnic groups, with the former appearing to be more accepting and less concerned about the disease. Additional research about CHB symptomatology and health attitudes by ethnicity is needed to ensure that individuals with CHB are educated on the potential health risks and the availability of current treatment options.

Atillasoy E, Block TM, Fisher RT, Han SH, Hann HW, Harris M, Maa JF


J. Viral Hepat., 2008, 15 (1)