1Department of Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
2Department of Medicine Huddinge, Infectious Diseases, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
A severe course has been described in early studies on chronic hepatitis D (CHD), with faster pace towards liver cirrhosis with subsequent high liver-related morbidity and mortality in majority of patients. Earlier studies have included risk groups as people using intravenous drugs (PWID) or those with multiple co-morbidities. During the last decade, the epidemiological landscape of CHD has changed with domestic cases decreasing while increasing cases of CHD consisting of younger persons immigrating from endemic regions to low-endemic regions. Recently, further insights into the spectrum of the disease, with an indolent disease course in a substantial proportion of persons with CHD has been gained. At diagnosis, ≥30%-50% had though already established liver cirrhosis. Older age, liver cirrhosis, co-infection with HIV and lack of interferon (IFN) therapy are the main predictors of worse clinical outcome. The newly introduced and upcoming antivirals against CHD are highly anticipated, considering the historically low virological response rates to antiviral therapy. Further knowledge is though needed to fully comprehend the natural course and the spectrum of this severe form of viral hepatitis. This also to be able to evaluate the long-term effects of the new antivirals on the disease progression.