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      A Prospective Study of Hepatitis C Viremia in Renal Allograft Recipients

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          In an attempt to study the impact of HCV viremia on renal transplant clinical course and outcome, we prospectively followed 133 HBsAg-negative end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, in whom HCV-RNA-PCR results were available, from the pre- to post-transplant period. Eighty (60%) ESRD patients tested PCR-positive, of these, 12 (15%) were anti-HCV negative by second generation ELISA. The viremic patients had a longer time on dialysis (p < 0.001), received more blood units (p < 0.001) and had a higher frequency of pre-transplantation liver disease (p < 0.001). Further, 41% of PCR-positive patients gave a history of antischistosomal treatment compared with 23% of PCR-negative ones (p = 0.048). Recipients with and without HCV viremia were followed for a mean of 31.8 ± 5.8 (range 6–42) months and 29.8 ± 9 (range 6–41) months respectively, p = 0.14. While the prevalence of HCV viremia increased from 60 to 64% at the last follow-up, the anti-HCV seroprevalence decreased from 63 to 61%. PCR-positive patients had higher rates of both acute (p = 0.005) and chronic (p < 0.001) liver disease after transplantation compared with PCR-negative patients. However, none of our HCV RNA positive recipients developed a fulminant liver disease or hepatic failure until the last follow-up. Stepwise logistic regression analysis identified pre-transplant liver disease (Odds ratio = 2.4; p = 0.07) and a cumulative corticosteroid dose in excess of 15 g at the last follow-up (Odds ratio = 3; p = 0.03) as independent predictors of post-transplant hepatic dysfunction in PCR-positive patients. Azathioprine was discontinued due to hepatic dysfunction in a significantly (p = 0.005) higher proportion of viremic patients compared with the non-viremic ones. There were no significant differences between PCR-positive and -negative patients in terms of frequencies and individual causes of graft and patient losses. Our results demonstrate that HCV infection is extremely prevalent in Egyptian hemodialysis patients and is responsible for most hepatic dysfunctions after transplantation. Although HCV viremia did not negatively affect graft or patient outcome until 31 months post-transplantation, the authors would recommend that a viremic patient should have a liver biopsy before transplantation and be immunosuppressed with caution post-transplantation. A longer follow-up may be required to exclude increased rates of HCV-induced hepatic mortalities.

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


            Author and article information

            Am J Nephrol
            American Journal of Nephrology
            S. Karger AG
            October 1999
            26 November 1999
            : 19
            : 5
            : 576-585
            Urology and Nephrology Center, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
            13523 Am J Nephrol 1999;19:576–585
            © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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            Page count
            Tables: 6, References: 50, Pages: 10
            Self URI (application/pdf):
            Clinical Study

            Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

            Kidney, Hepatitis C virus, Transplantation


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