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See detailHepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection in Belgium: similarities and differences in epidemic and initial management
De Vroey, B; Moreno, C; Laleman, W et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2013), 25(5), 613-619

Introduction Nationwide studies comparing patients with hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) infections are mandatory for assessing changes in epidemiology. Aim The aim of this study was to compare ... [more ▼]

Introduction Nationwide studies comparing patients with hepatitis B and C virus (HBV and HCV) infections are mandatory for assessing changes in epidemiology. Aim The aim of this study was to compare epidemiological data and initial management of newly diagnosed patients with persistent HBV (HBsAg positive) or HCV (detectable HCV RNA) infection in Belgium. Patients and methods Data were extracted from two Belgian observational databases. Results A total of 655 patients (387 HBV and 268 HCV) were included. Compared with HCV patients, HBV patients were younger, more frequently men, more often of Asian or African origin (43 vs. 10%, P < 0.0001), and less frequently contaminated by transfusion or intravenous drug use (9 and 6% vs. 34 and 44%, P< 0.0001). Viral replication was assessed in 89% of HBV patients. Compared with HCV patients, HBV patients more frequently had normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (65 vs. 29%, P < 0.0001), less frequently underwent liver biopsy (29 vs. 67%, P < 0.0001), and were less often considered for antiviral therapy (25 vs. 54%, P < 0.0001). When taking only HBV patients with detectable viral replication into consideration, results remained unchanged. During the multivariate analysis, ALT was a major factor for performing liver biopsy or considering antiviral therapy in both groups. Conclusion HBV and HCV screening policies should be targeted toward immigrants and intravenous drug users, respectively. Guidelines recommending systematic search for viral replication should be reinforced in HBV patients. HBV patients less frequently underwent liver biopsy and were less often considered for antiviral therapy compared with HCV patients. Despite the lack of sensitivity and specificity, ALT remains a pivotal decision-making tool for liver biopsy and antiviral therapy in both infections. [less ▲]

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See detailPrevalence and characteristics of Epstein-Barr virus-associated gastric carcinomas in Tunisia
Trimeche, Mounir; Ksiâa, Feryel; Ziadi, Sonia et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2009), 21(9), 1001-1007

Objective Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) has been linked to gastric carcinoma (GC) with worldwide geographical variations of prevalence ranging from 1 to 18% of cases. Investigations carried out in north Africa ... [more ▼]

Objective Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) has been linked to gastric carcinoma (GC) with worldwide geographical variations of prevalence ranging from 1 to 18% of cases. Investigations carried out in north Africa have shown that some EBV-associated types of cancers are common in this area. This study was taken to determine the prevalence of EBV-associated GC in Tunisia. Methods Ninety-six nonselected GC cases (male/female ratio 1.7/1, mean age 60.9 years, range: 20–88 years) were evaluated for the presence of EBV by polymerase chain reaction as well as by in-situ hybridization for EBVencoded small RNAs (EBERs) and immunohistochemistry for LMP-1 and EBNA-2 expression. Results EBV was detected by polymerase chain reaction in 36% of cases, whereas EBERs were detected in the tumor cells in only four cases (4.1%). Immunohistochemistry for LMP-1 and EBNA-2 was negative in all cases. The mean age for patients harboring EBERs-positive GC was 55.7 years (range: 52–59 years). All EBERs-positive GC cases were males of advanced clinical stage (pT3–pT4). According to Lauren’s classification, two cases were of diffuse histological type and two cases were of intestinal type. In three cases, the tumors have a proximal location and in the remaining case the tumor arises in the antrum. All EBV strains detected from EBV-associated GC were exclusively of type A and D, prototype F, and XhoI-maintained variant. Conclusion We conclude that the prevalence of EBV-associated GC in Tunisia is low (4.1%), suggesting that this virus is not an important etiological factor in GC arising in north African populations. The clinicopathological profile of EBV-associated GC in Tunisia did not differ markedly from that found elsewhere. [less ▲]

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See detailHCV genotype 4 in Belgium: three distinct patterns among patients from European and African origin
Delwaide, Jean ULg; Reenaers, Catherine ULg; Gerard, Christiane ULg et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2006), 18(7), 707-712

Background Considered uncommon in western countries some years ago, hepatitis C virus of genotype 4 is now spreading in some areas of Europe. This is assumed to be due to immigration from a region of high ... [more ▼]

Background Considered uncommon in western countries some years ago, hepatitis C virus of genotype 4 is now spreading in some areas of Europe. This is assumed to be due to immigration from a region of high prevalence for this genotype and to propagation among drug users. In the south of Belgium, genotype 4 currently accounts for 10% of hepatitis C virus patients and its prevalence is increasing with time. Objective To better define the genotype 4 carriers' characteristics. Methods In a database comprising 1726 viraemic hepatitis C virus patients, the files of 85 genotype 4 carriers were reviewed. Results Beside the African (58%) and European drug user (15%) subgroups classically described, a third subgroup consisting of European nondrug users (26%) was identified as peculiar: these patients were older, had been mostly contaminated sporadically, presented a great diversity of subtypes, and were mainly of Italian origin. In this subgroup, contamination was supposed to be ancient, having occurred probably in Italy before immigration into Belgium. By contrast, European drug users were infected with only two subtypes (4c/4d and 4), an observation in favour of recent spread. Africans had a great diversity of subtypes, were young, and were mostly contaminated sporadically in their home countries. Despite their epidemiological differences, the clinical management, and in particular the rates of eligibility for treatment, were similar for these three groups. Conclusions Three different patterns of genotype 4 carriers were observed, corresponding to three different spreading profiles. They did not induce, however, different clinical management. [less ▲]

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See detailHepatitis C infection: eligibility for antiviral therapies
Delwaide, Jean ULg; El Saouda, R.; Gerard, Christiane ULg et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2005), 17(11), 1185-1189

Background Current treatments of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) are effective, but expensive and susceptible to induce significant side effects. Objectives To evaluate the proportion of HCV patients who ... [more ▼]

Background Current treatments of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) are effective, but expensive and susceptible to induce significant side effects. Objectives To evaluate the proportion of HCV patients who are eligible for a treatment. Methods In a database comprising 1726 viraemic HCV patients, the files of 299 patients who presented to the same hepatologist for an initial appointment between 1996 and 2003 were reviewed. Results Patients' characteristics were age 43.1 +/- 15.6 years, 53% male and 92% Caucasian. The main risk factors were transfusion (43%) and drug use (22%). Genotypes were mostly genotype 1 (66%), genotype 3 (12%) and genotype 2 (10%). These characteristics were not different from those of the whole series of 1726 patients. A total of 176 patients (59%) were not treated, the reasons for non-treatment being medical contraindications (34%), non-compliance (25%) and normal transaminases (24%). In addition, 17% of patients declined therapy despite being considered as eligible, mainly due to fear of adverse events. Medical contraindications were psychiatric (27%), age (22%), end-stage liver disease (15%), willingness for pregnancy (13%), cardiac contraindication (7%) and others (16%). Only 123 patients (41%) were treated. A sustained viral response was observed in 41%. The treatment was interrupted in 16% for adverse events. Conclusions The majority of HCV patients are not eligible for treatment. This implies that, with current therapies, only 17% of patients referred for chronic HCV become sustained responders. Some modifications of guidelines could extend the rate of treatment (patients with normal transaminases), but an important barrier remains the patients' and the doctors' fear of adverse events. [less ▲]

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See detailHeartburn in Belgium: prevalence, impact on daily life, and utilization of medical resources
Louis, Edouard ULg; DeLooze, D.; Deprez, P. et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2002), 14(3), 279-284

Background Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a frequently occurring disease that may be considered a public health issue, particularly in developed countries. The specificity of heartburn for ... [more ▼]

Background Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is a frequently occurring disease that may be considered a public health issue, particularly in developed countries. The specificity of heartburn for the diagnosis of GORD is good. Our aim was to define the prevalence of heartburn in Belgium, characterizing both its impact on everyday life and the ensuing use of medical resources. Methods Two thousand people living in Belgium, selected randomly after stratification, were interviewed face to face. The main question in the questionnaire used in this interview concerned the presence over the previous 12 months of a burning sensation in the epigastric and/or retrosternal region. This was followed by 21 secondary questions on the characteristics of the population studied, the impact of heartburn on everyday life, and the medical resources used. Results Twenty-eight per cent of the population interviewed reported heartburn. This symptom was present at least once a week in 42% of sufferers. Heartburn was more frequent in women than men (P < 0.05) and was not distributed uniformly throughout the various regions of the country (P < 0.05). Seventy-seven per cent of the people with heartburn found that it had a significantly negative impact on their daily lives (in 27%, this effect was strong). Heartburn associated with a substantial negative impact on daily life was characterized by a higher frequency of symptoms (P < 0.0001), a longer duration of the problem (P= 0.006), and the presence of pain (P < 0.0001) and anxiety (P < 0.0001). Fifty-six per cent of individuals with heartburn had already sought medical advice, 45% had undergone an upper-gastrointestinal tract endoscopy, and 59% were taking medications. Among patients complaining that heartburn had a substantial negative effect on their everyday lives, 21.6% had not sought medical advice and 22.2% did not take any medication. Conclusion Heartburn is very frequent in Belgium and is associated with a considerable negative impact on everyday life. It also generates a significant use of medical resources. However, among the patients complaining of a substantial negative effect on their daily lives, one-fifth (which would represent 1.5% of the Belgian population) seemed to lack appropriate care. [less ▲]

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See detailDietary Polyamines and Non-Neoplastic Growth and Disease
Deloyer, Patricia; Peulen, Olivier ULg; Dandrifosse, Guy ULg

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2001), 13(9), 1027-32

This review presents the data that are now available concerning the effects of dietary polyamines at either postnatal or adult stages in non-neoplastic growth and disease. Polyamines provided by food have ... [more ▼]

This review presents the data that are now available concerning the effects of dietary polyamines at either postnatal or adult stages in non-neoplastic growth and disease. Polyamines provided by food have a potential role in growth and development of the digestive system in neonatal mammals (and fishes). In humans, this property could be of importance in preventing the appearance of food allergies. Dietary polyamines also seem necessary for the maintenance of normal growth and general properties of adult digestive tract. Their possible therapeutic effects have been investigated in gastric, intestinal, and, more recently, whole-body healing. [less ▲]

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See detailClinical Pattern of Corticosteroid Dependent Crohn's Disease
Franchimont, D. P.; Louis, Edouard ULg; Croes, F. et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (1998), 10(10), 821-5

OBJECTIVES: Corticosteroid dependency in Crohn's disease (CD) is characterized by the need for chronic use of corticosteroids to maintain clinical remission. Several definitions have been used. Depending ... [more ▼]

OBJECTIVES: Corticosteroid dependency in Crohn's disease (CD) is characterized by the need for chronic use of corticosteroids to maintain clinical remission. Several definitions have been used. Depending on the definition, 10-30% of the patients are considered as corticosteroid dependent. The aim of the study was to define a clinical pattern of corticosteroid dependent CD patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Epidemiological and clinical characteristics were retrospectively compared between 20 corticosteroid dependent CD patients and 248 non-corticosteroid dependent CD patients by using univariate and multivariate analyses. Corticosteroid dependency was defined either by two successive relapses during the 2 months after discontinuing glucocorticoids (n=5) or by two successive relapses at dose tapering, after successful treatment of a flare-up by using glucocorticoids (n=15). RESULTS: Corticosteroid dependent CD patients were younger at diagnosis (P < 0.001), and were characterized by a higher frequency of colonic location (P< 0.05), but lower frequency of ileal location (P < 0.01), and higher ano-perineal location (P < 0.05). They were also more frequently smokers (P< 0.05) and users of contraceptive pills (P< 0.01). The inflammatory type of the disease was increased (P < 0.01), while the fibrostenotic type was decreased (P < 0.001) in corticosteroid dependent CD patients. By multivariate analysis, a smoking habit (P < 0.01), a colonic location (P < 0.05), a non-fibrostenotic type (P< 0.05) and a younger age at diagnosis (P< 0.05) were shown to be independently associated with corticosteroid dependency. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests a clinical pattern associated with corticosteroid dependency. Whether this clinical pattern is simply associated with the dependency, or whether a primary decrease of corticosensitivity produces this clinical pattern, is not known. Further prospective studies will have to determine whether the presence of these clinical characteristics is predictive of corticosteroid dependency and whether this prediction will be useful for the management of this condition. [less ▲]

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See detailA High Serum Concentration of Interleukin-6 Is Predictive of Relapse in Quiescent Crohn's Disease
Louis, Edouard ULg; Belaiche, Jacques ULg; Van Kemseke, Catherine ULg et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (1997), 9(10), 939-44

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Relapses of Crohn's disease are difficult to predict. We assessed the value of serum level of interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and soluble TNF receptors as ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Relapses of Crohn's disease are difficult to predict. We assessed the value of serum level of interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and soluble TNF receptors as predictors of relapse in quiescent Crohn's disease. PATIENTS/METHODS: Thirty-six patients with inactive Crohn's disease, treated or not, were included. Various clinical and biological parameters, including interleukin-6, TNF-alpha and soluble TNF receptors serum levels were measured at inclusion in the study and the patients were followed clinically for 1 year. The relapse was defined as a Crohn's Disease Activity Index (CDAI) greater than 150 with an increase greater than 100 compared to the inclusion value. We analysed the ability of these parameters to predict relapse in parallel to clinical characteristics and other laboratory parameters. RESULTS: Among the 32 variables tested, interleukin-6 serum level had the greatest ability to predict the time-to-relapse, with 17-fold chance of relapse over a 1-year period for patients with an interleukin-6 serum level greater than 20 pg/ml than for patients with a lower level (P < 0.001). A high serum level of the soluble TNF receptors p55 and p75 also had significant predictive value, in contrast to TNF-alpha serum levels. An interleukin-6 serum level greater than 20 pg/ml and either an acid alpha-1-glycoprotein level greater than 1.1 g/l or a soluble interleukin-2 receptor serum level greater than 95 pM/l were risk factors selected by a stepwise multivariate analysis. In both models a good prognosis group was defined by the absence of the two risk factors, a bad prognostic group by the presence of the two risk factors and an intermediate in between. With both models, the good prognosis group included 17 patients who experienced no relapse over the 1-year follow-up, whereas all patients (seven with the first model and six with the second) in the bad prognosis group had a relapse during the follow-up. Looking specifically at two homogeneous subgroups including either naturally/5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) quiescent or corticoid quiescent patients, a very good predictive value for interleukin-6 serum concentration was also found. CONCLUSION: Interleukin-6 serum level alone or in association with other biological parameters such as acid alpha-1-glycoprotein or the soluble interleukin-2 receptor serum level may be useful for predicting the course of the disease in patients with quiescent Crohn's disease. [less ▲]

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See detailChylothorax: a rare complication of endoscopic variceal sclerotherapy.
Bury, Thierry ULg; Corhay, Jean-Louis ULg; Louis, Renaud ULg et al

in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology (1993), 5

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