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J Hepatol. 1995 Mar;22(3):272-7.

Hepatitis C virus infection in renal transplant recipients: epidemiology, clinical impact, serological confirmation and viral replication.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital General Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain.


The presence and significance of hepatitis C virus infection was evaluated in 241 renal transplant recipients from our hospital. Hepatitis C virus antibodies were tested by second-generation enzyme immunoassay, followed by second- and third-generation immunoblot assays (RIBA-2 and RIBA-3); hepatitis C virus RNA was measured by nested polymerase chain reaction. Hepatitis C virus antibodies, which were detected in 46.5% of patients, were mainly present before transplantation and independently associated with the total amount of transfused blood, time in hemodialysis and duration of posttransplant follow up. Liver dysfunction (alanine aminotransferase elevation) was observed in 50% of antibody-positive recipients, and 92.5% of patients with chronic liver disease without hepatitis B infection were infected with hepatitis C virus. Most antibody-positive patients (78.4%) tested positive by RIBA-2, but 21.6% were indeterminate; RIBA-3 was positive in 90% of these indeterminates. Hepatitis C virus RNA detection was positive in 96% of antibody-positive cases tested, in 20% of patients who were already anti-HCV negative before transplantation and also demonstrated persistence of HCV infection in all cases who, being antibody positive prior to transplantation, lost these antibodies during follow up (9% of transplanted patients). In conclusion, hepatitis C virus infection is extremely prevalent in renal transplant recipients from Spain and is the main cause of chronic liver disease in these patients. Confirmation by supplemental assays of anti-HCV antibodies is not necessary, but hepatitis C virus RNA testing is indispensable to detect those cases who lose or do not develop hepatitis C virus antibodies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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