A twelve year natural history of hepatitis C virus infection in hemodialyzed patients

Kidney Int. 1994 Aug;46(2):504-11. doi: 10.1038/ki.1994.301.


A prospective non-A, non-B follow-up program, implemented in a hepatitis B surface antigen-free dialysis unit, enabled us to report on the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in hemodialyzed patients between 1980 and 1992. For this program, every patient was prospectively monitored every two weeks for alanine amino transferase (ALT) activity, and every month for gammaglutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) activity and systematic collection of frozen sera. Sequences of stored sera from 217 patients were repeatedly tested for anti-HCV antibodies using second generation assays. Eighty-six of the 217 patients (39.6%), including 61 of the 67 patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis (91%), had HCV infection repeatedly evidenced by positive ELISA in all, and confirmed by RIBA in 84 of 86 (97.5%). In addition, 19 out of 23 patients (82.6%) were positive for HCV RNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Of the 86 anti-HCV positive patients, 41 had previously acquired HCV infection, and 45 seroconverted during chronic dialysis. Of these, all but one patient developed hepatitis with raised ALT activity which lasted for at least six months in all. Only 29 of 45 patients (64.5%) had a history of blood transfusion. Seventy-eight of the 86 patients (91%) who were followed up for one to 11.5 years (median 5) retained anti-HCV for several years. Nineteen liver biopsies performed in 16 patients showed chronic active hepatitis in 8 (50%) and hepatocellular carcinoma without cirrhosis in one patient.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France / epidemiology
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis C / blood
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Viral / analysis
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transfusion Reaction
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • RNA, Viral
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Alanine Transaminase