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Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Nov;51(11):1962-6. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Is hepatitis C virus positivity a contributing factor to occult hepatitis B virus infection in hemodialysis patients?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Baskent University Faculty of Medicine, 35 Sokak, 81/5, Bahcelievler, 06490, Ankara, Turkey.


Hepatitis B (HBV) infections continue to occur in adult hemodialysis units. Occult HBV infection (serum hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] negative but HBV DNA positive) may be a contributing factor in these patients. This study was designed to (1) investigate the prevalence of occult HBV infection in hemodialysis patients and (2) compare the prevalence of occult HBV infection among hepatitis C (HCV)-positive and HCV-negative hemodialysis patients. The study included 138 patients on chronic hemodialysis. Eighty-four patients were HCV positive and 54 were HCV negative. HBV DNA testing was performed by polymerase chain reaction. We also recorded general characteristics of the patients, duration of hemodialysis, and serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase levels. Twenty-one (15.2%) of the 138 hemodialysis patients were HBV DNA positive. Nine (16.6%) of the 54 anti-HCV antibody negative hemodialysis patients were HBV DNA positive. Twelve (14.2%) of the 84 anti-HCV antibody positive patients were HBV DNA positive. The prevalence in anti-HCV Ab positive and negative hemodialysis patients were same (P > .05). Hemodialysis duration, demographic features, and biochemical parameters were not significantly different in patients with and without occult HBV infection in both HCV-positive and -negative hemodialysis patients (P > .05). HCV positivity is not a contributing factor to occult HBV infection in hemodialysis patients. None of the parameters tested help to distinguish patients with occult HBV infection from those who are HBV DNA negative.

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