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Kidney Int. 2019 Apr;95(4):939-947. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2018.11.038.

Prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for hepatitis C virus infection in hemodialysis patients.

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Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:
Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA.
Department of Blood Purification and Internal Medicine, Kidney Center, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.
Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is common in dialysis patients and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. We used the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS, 1996-2015) to assess trends in the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for HCV infection as defined by a documented diagnosis or antibody positivity. Among prevalent hemodialysis patients, HCV prevalence was nearly 10% in 2012-2015. Prevalence ranged from 4% in Belgium to as high as 20% in the Middle East, with intermediate prevalence in China, Japan, Italy, Spain, and Russia. HCV prevalence decreased over time in most countries participating in more than one phase of DOPPS, and prevalence was around 5% among patients who had recently (<4 months) initiated dialysis. The incidence of HCV infection decreased from 2.9 to 1.2 per 100 patient-years in countries participating in the initial phase of DOPPS. Although most units reported no seroconversions, 10% of units experienced 3 or more cases over a median of 1.1 years. High HCV prevalence in the hemodialysis unit was a powerful facility-level risk factor for seroconversion, but the use of isolation stations for HCV-positive patients was not associated with significantly lower seroconversion rates. Overall, despite a trend toward lower HCV prevalence among hemodialysis patients, the prevalence of HCV infection remains higher than in the general population. Combined with a high prevalence of HCV infection among patients with Stage 5 CKD, high rates of HCV seroconversion in a subset of hemodialysis units may contribute to this disparity.


chronic kidney disease; hemodialysis; hepatitis C virus


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