Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
BMC Gastroenterol. 2007 Feb 5;7:5.

Prevalence and associated factors of viral hepatitis and transferrin elevations in 5036 patients admitted to the emergency room of a Swiss university hospital: cross-sectional study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.



The epidemiology of liver disease in patients admitted to emergency rooms is largely unknown. The current study aimed to measure the prevalence of viral hepatitis B and C infection and pathological laboratory values of liver disease in such a population, and to study factors associated with these measurements.


Cross-sectional study in patients admitted to the emergency room of a university hospital. No formal exclusion criteria. Determination of anti-HBs, anti-HCV, transferrin saturation, alanine aminotransferase, and obtaining answers from a study-specific questionnaire.


The study included 5'036 patients, representing a 14.9% sample of the target population during the study period. Prevalence of anti-HBc and anti-HCV was 6.7% (95%CI 6.0% to 7.4%) and 2.7% (2.3% to 3.2%), respectively. Factors independently associated with positive anti-HBc were intravenous drug abuse (OR 18.3; 11.3 to 29.7), foreign country of birth (3.4; 2.6 to 4.4), non-white ethnicity (2.7; 1.9 to 3.8) and age > or =60 (2.0; 1.5 to 2.8). Positive anti-HCV was associated with intravenous drug abuse (78.9; 43.4 to 143.6), blood transfusion (1.7; 1.1 to 2.8) and abdominal pain (2.7; 1.5 to 4.8). 75% of all participants were not vaccinated against hepatitis B or did not know their vaccination status. Among anti-HCV positive patients only 49% knew about their infection and 51% reported regular alcohol consumption. Transferrin saturation was elevated in 3.3% and was associated with fatigue (prevalence ratio 1.9; 1.2 to 2.8).


Emergency rooms should be considered as targets for public health programs that encourage vaccination, patient education and screening of high-risk patients for liver disease with subsequent referral for treatment if indicated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk