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Am J Gastroenterol. 1992 Aug;87(8):1001-4.

Prevalence of anti-HCV in cryptogenic cirrhosis in a suburban Detroit community.

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Department of Internal Medicine, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan.


To assess the role of the hepatitis C virus in patients with unexplained chronic liver disease, we tested for the presence of anti-hepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) in the stored serum of patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis and a variety of other chronic liver diseases. The anti-HCV assay was performed by both the enzyme-linked and recombinant immunoblot methods in 16 patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis. Eight of these 16 patients (50%) were seropositive. Six of these eight patients were born outside of the United States, compared with only one of eight seronegative patients (p = 0.021). Of the anti-HCV-positive cryptogenic cirrhotic patients, 50% also had markers of previous hepatitis B infection, compared with only 12.5% of seronegative patients. Evidence of anti-HCV positivity was found in 10%, 19%, 0%, and 0% in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis, respectively. We conclude that in a suburban American population, hepatitis C accounts for a significant percentage of patients with presumed cryptogenic cirrhosis. Unrecognized risk factors may account for a higher prevalence of HCV in foreign-born patients with cryptogenic cirrhosis. A low prevalence of anti-HCV positivity is found in other forms of chronic liver disease.

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