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Blood. 1991 Jul 15;78(2):285-9.

Hepatitis C infection in children with hemophilia A and B.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) were quantitated in stored sera from selected groups of hemophilic children (less than or equal to 18 years of age). During the period 1987 to 1989, seropositivity rates were as follows: untransfused hemophiliacs 0% (0 of 11 cases), hemophiliacs treated exclusively with vapor-heated factor VIII or IX concentrates 0% (0 of 9 cases), hemophiliacs treated only with cryoprecipitate or single donor blood products 0% (0 of 9 cases), and hemophiliacs regularly treated with unheated or dry heat-treated factor VIII or IX concentrates 95% (21 of 22 cases). Corresponding alanine aminotransferase (ALT) results were similar: values were always below the upper limit of laboratory normal (40 U/L) in untransfused hemophiliacs, hemophiliacs treated with vapor-heated factor concentrates, or those who received only cryoprecipitate or single donor blood products. By contrast ALT values were greater than 40 U/L in 82% (18 of 22 cases) of hemophilic children regularly infused with unheated or dry heat-treated factor concentrates. Three conclusions are drawn from this data: (1) HCV is a major cause of chronic hepatitis in multitransfused hemophilic children, (2) unheated and dry heat-treated clotting factor concentrates carry a very high risk of transmitting HCV infection, and (3) clotting factor concentrates inactivated by vapor heating carry a very low and perhaps zero risk of transmitting HCV infection. These findings are of therapeutic significance for previously untransfused hemophiliacs susceptible to HCV infection.

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