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      Quantitative Assessment of HCV Load in Chronic Hemodialysis Patients: A Cross-Sectional Survey

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          Abstract

          Recent evidence has been accumulated showing that chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients have a very high prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus (HCV). In contrast, there is little information addressing the virological characteristics of HCV infection in this population. Aim: To measure HCV viral load and to correlate this with demographic, biochemical, and clinical features of a large cohort of HCV-infected patients on chronic HD. Methods: 394 chronic HD patients were tested by branched-DNA signal amplification assay, anti-HCV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay 2.0, and on the basis of the aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase (AST/ALT) activity. Multivariate analysis by ordinal logistic regression model was performed: age, gender, race, time on HD, allocation of the patients among the HD units, etiology of end-stage renal disease, HBsAg status, anti-HCV positivity, HCV genotype, and AST/ALT levels were independent factors, and viremic levels of HCV in serum were assumed as dependent variables. Results: 88 (22.3%) patients showed serological and/or virological signs of HCV infection. 59 (15%) out of 394 had detectable HCV RNA in serum, the mean HCV load was 19.4 × 10<sup>5</sup> (95% CI, 6.06 × 10<sup>7</sup> to 6.2 × 10<sup>4</sup>) Eq/ml. According to the criteria suggested by others [J Infect Dis 1994;169:1219–1225], there were 8 (13.5%) individuals with high-titer viremia (>1 × 10<sup>7</sup> Eq/ml) in the subset of viremic patients. A small subset (8/394 or 2%) of individuals was seronegative, but viremic; 29 (7%) out of 394 were seropositive without detectable HCV RNA in serum. Univariate analysis showed that the frequency of anti-HCV positivity was significantly higher in viremic patients as compared with individuals with no detectable HCV viremia: 51/59 (86%) vs. 29/335 (8.6%), p = 0.0001. Serum AST and ALT levels were significantly higher in viremic patients than in individuals with no detectable HCV RNA in serum: 23.8 (95% CI 60.8–9.3) vs. 17.1 (95% CI 50.4–5.8) U/l (p = 0.009) and 14.4 (95% CI 48.9–4.3) vs. 9.8 (95% CI, 37.3– 2.5) U/l (p = 0.008). Logistic regression analysis showed an association between HCV viremia and anti-HCV positivity (p = 0.00001) and ALT activity (p = 0.01). Conclusions: Hepatitis C virus infection is highly prevalent in the HD population; the viral load is relatively low, and it was associated with elevated hepatic enzyme levels and anti-HCV positivity. No other clinical characteristics were associated with HCV RNA levels. Seronegative but viremic patients were also found. Longitudinal studies with long follow-up periods are necessary to evaluate the course of HCV load over time in this population.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          NEF
          Nephron
          10.1159/issn.1660-8151
          Nephron
          S. Karger AG
          1660-8151
          2235-3186
          1998
          December 1998
          07 December 1998
          : 80
          : 4
          : 428-433
          Affiliations
          a Division of Digestive Diseases, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, Calif., b Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, Calif., USA; c Nephrology and Dialysis Division, Hospital Lecco, Italy
          Article
          45215 Nephron 1998;80:428–433
          10.1159/000045215
          9832642
          © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Tables: 2, References: 30, Pages: 6
          Product
          Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/45215
          Categories
          Original Paper

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