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Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 2000 Nov;24(11):1037-41.

[Strategies of hepatitis C screening in general practice. Results of a two-center randomized trial].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Service de Santé Publique, Hôpital Henri-Mondor, Créteil.



To improve the detection of patients infected with hepatitis C virus.


A study was undertaken in the general medicine setting in two hepatitis C networks. General practitioners volunteered and received training on hepatitis C, then were randomly assigned to one of two screening strategies: group 1: general practitioners prescribed hepatitis C virus testing if the risk factors for HCV hepatitis C virus infection were identified during questioning of patients, group 2: general practitioners were helped in their screening approach by posters and leaflets on the risk factors of hepatitis C virus, available in the waiting room.


A total of 184 general practitioners enrolled 90 from group 1 and 94 from group 2. During a 15-month-period, 617 serologies were prescribed, 323 by general practitioners in group 1 (in patients who were an average of 40 year-old) and 294 in group 2 (in patients who were an average of 44 year-old); 489 serologies (79.3%) were actually performed (261 and 228 respectively) and 25 (5.1%) tested positive (15 and 10 respectively). The number of prescribed, performed, and positive serologies did not differ from one group to the other. The motive for hepatitis C virus screening was similar in both groups and included a history of transfusion in 27% of cases, intravenous drug use in 6%, increased ALT or symptoms compatible with hepatitis in 13%, nosocomial exposure in 22%. Risk factors in the 25 patients who were hepatitis C virus positive were drug use (44%), history of transfusion before 1991 (16%), elevated ALT or symptoms (12%), others (28%).


This study comparing screening strategies in general medicine, resulted in the diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection in 5% of tested patients, regardless of the strategy. However, the fewer serologies prescribed by general practitioners (an average of 3 tests in a 15-month-period) suggests a low rate of identified risk factors in general practice, and emphasizes that other types of screening procedures should be implemented and evaluated.

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