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Am J Gastroenterol. 1991 Sep;86(9):1219-23.

Antibody to hepatitis C is common among patients with alcoholic liver disease with and without risk factors.

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  • 1University of Miami, Florida.


Thirty-seven patients with clinically suspected alcoholic liver disease were retrospectively studied for the prevalence of antibody to hepatitis C virus (HCV) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblot assay. Twenty-four had biopsy-proven cirrhosis. Nineteen had identifiable risk factors for non-A, non-B viral hepatitis, and 18 did not. Five of 19 high-risk (26%) and 6 of 18 low-risk (33%) patients had positive antibody, compared with two of 179 healthy blood donors (p less than 0.01 for either group of alcoholics compared with blood donors). Nine of 11 ELISA-positive patients were also either positive or indeterminable by immunoblot testing. Histologic scores for parameters commonly associated with chronic viral hepatitis were numerically worse among anti-HCV-positive patients, but none reached statistical significance. Clinically, seven of 11 (64%) of anti-HCV-positive patients versus 14 of 26 (54%) anti-HCV-negative patients were Child's class C. Among the 21 Child's class C patients, seven (33%) were anti-HCV-positive versus four of 16 (25%) of Child's class A/B patients. A weak correlation between IgG and ELISA optical density was observed (r = 0.52). We conclude that antibody to hepatitis C by ELISA and immunoblot is common among alcoholics with liver disease even in the absence of known or suspected risk factors for viral hepatitis. Although hepatitis C-positive patients tended to have more severe histologic disease, neither histologic parameters nor clinical findings were adequate to predict antibody seropositivity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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