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Makhlough A, Jamshidi M, Mahdavi MR
Correspondence: Dr Atieh Makhlough, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Patients on maintenance haemodialysis are known to have an elevated risk of acquiring hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The reported prevalence among haemodialysis patients in the United States ranges from eight percent to ten percent, and is considerably higher in many European and Middle Eastern countries. Therefore, a reliable diagnosis of HCV infection is essential in order to prevent the spread of the disease in dialysis units.
Methods All haemodialysis patients were interviewed in two dialysis units in Sari and Ghaemshahr, Iran, in 2006. Blood samples were collected and serum samples screened for anti-HCV antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). All samples were retested for confirmation with polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results A total of 186 haemodialysis patients (mean age 58.86 +/- 16.9 years) were studied. Mean duration of haemodialysis was 3.07 +/- 0.3 years. Mean of SGOT and SGPT were 30.64 +/- 6 and 32.01 +/- 8, respectively. Among the 186 patients, 39 (21 percent) were seropositive by ELISA and 21 (11.3 percent) were PCR positive. All PCR positive patients also had positive ELISA. Association between the duration of haemodialysis and HCV seropositivity was statistically significant (p-value is 0.0001), but there was no significant correlation between number of transfusions and HCV seropositivity.
Conclusion Despite the growing demand for cost-effectiveness in the health system, tight control of HCV infection by PCR and ELISA examination must remain an essential part of the routine screening in haemodialysis patients.
Keywords: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, haemodialysis, hepatitis C virus, polymerase chain reaction, serological methods
Singapore Med J 2008; 49(11): 921-923