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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1998 Jul;13(7):1804-6.

Absence of HCV viraemia in anti-HCV-negative haemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Blood Bank, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Immunologic alterations have been reported in chronic haemodialysis (HD) patients. Some HD patients may have, therefore, an inability to produce detectable amounts of serum antibodies to hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV). Previous studies have shown the presence of HCV viraemia in anti-HCV-negative HD patients (ranging from 1 to 15%). However, the universal epidemiologic impact of these cases remains uncertain since there are conflicting results. In this context, we conducted a study in an attempt to investigate the presence of HCV viraemia among anti-HCV-negative HD patients in a well-defined geographic area of the northwestern part of Greece.

METHODS:

During a 6 month period, 81 anti-HCV-negative HD patients were tested twice for the presence of HCV RNA, using the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) combined with a DNA enzyme immunoassay (DEIA). At the same time, periodic testing for anti-HCV by two commercially available third generation assays was done. In addition, 15 anti-HCV-positive HD patients and 20 non-HD patients with well established chronic HCV infection used as internal controls were tested for the presence of HCV RNA and anti-HCV.

RESULTS:

None of the anti-HCV-negative HD patients were shown to be viraemic by the combined RT-PCR and DEIA method. During the same time period, all remained anti-HCV negative by the third generation assays. By contrast, all the patients with known HCV-infection were positive by the two enzyme immunoassays, whereas 13 anti-HCV-positive HD patients (86.7%) and 18 non-HD patients (90%) were viraemic by RT-PCR.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrated that routine HCV RNA testing in anti-HCV-negative HD patients appears not to be necessary particularly when third generation assays are used for the detection of anti-HCV.

PMID:
9681732
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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