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Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2004 Sep;56(3):249-57.

Epidemiology and clinical significance of hepatotropic infections in dialysis patients. Recent evidence.

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The Center for Liver and Kidney Diseases and Transplantation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is frequent among patients receiving long-term dialysis in developed and developing countries. It is difficult to assess the natural history of HCV in the dialysis population; however, recent studies have demonstrated that positive anti-HCV status is a significant and independent risk factor for mortality among dialysis patients. Recent meta-analyses have shown that interferon (IFN) initial monotherapy is effective in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C among dialysis patients, but tolerance to IFN mono-therapy was rather poor. Large, multicenter and prospective trials based on pegylated IFN for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C are planned. The frequency of HBV infection in patients undergoing maintenance dialysis in the industrialized world is low but not negligible; persistent HBsAg seropositivity is much higher in less-developed countries. Recent surveys have shown that detectable HBsAg/ HBV DNA status in serum is an independent and significant predictive factor for hepatocellular dysfunction in dialysis patients. No significant difference in morbidity and mortality between dialysis patients according to hepatitis B surface antigen status has been consistently shown. Preliminary reports suggest that lamivudine appears to be safe and effective in patients receiving long-term dialysis.

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