The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the leading known causes of liver disease in the
United States. It is a common cause of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) as well as
the most common reason for liver transplantation. At least 4 million people in this country are
believed to have been infected with HCV. Following the identification of hepatitis A and
hepatitis B, this disorder was categorized in 1974 as “non-A, non-B hepatitis.” In 1989, the
hepatitis C virus was identified and found to account for the majority of those patients with non-
A, non-B hepatitis. In March 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a Consensus
Development Conference regarding management and treatment of HCV.
This led to an important, widely distributed NIH Consensus Statement that, for several years, defined the
standard of care. Now 5 years later, knowledge of hepatitis C has increased dramatically, leading
to the need to reexamine the approaches to management and treatment. This conference was
convened with the aim of reviewing the most recent developments regarding management,
treatment options, and the widening spectrum of potential candidates for treatment and of
updating the 1997 Consensus Statement.
This NIH Consensus Development Conference on Management of Hepatitis C: 2002 was
held June 10–12, 2002. The primary sponsors of this meeting were the National Institute of
Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Office of Medical Applications
of Research (OMAR) of the NIH. The cosponsors were the National Institute of Child Health
and Human Development (NICHD); the National Cancer Institute (NCI); the National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM); the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
and Alcoholism (NIAAA); the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
(NHLBI); the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC); the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and the
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provided support to the NIH
Consensus Development Conference on Management of Hepatitis C: 2002 through its Evidencebased
Practice Center program. Under contract to the AHRQ, the Johns Hopkins University
Evidence-based Practice Center developed the systematic review and analysis that served as a
reference for discussion at the Conference.
This two-and-a-half-day conference examined the current state of knowledge regarding
the management of hepatitis C and identified directions for future research. During the first dayand-
a-half of the conference, experts presented the latest hepatitis C research findings to an
3 independent non-Federal Consensus Development Panel. After weighing this scientific evidence,
the panel drafted a statement, addressing the following key questions:
• What is the natural history of hepatitis C?
• What is the most appropriate approach to diagnose and monitor patients?
• What is the most effective therapy for hepatitis C?
• Which patients with hepatitis C should be treated?
• What recommendations can be made to patients to prevent transmission of
• What are the most important areas for future research?
Read the full statement: