Utility of routine real time quantitative PCR monitoring of HCV infection in haemodialysis patients

Datta, S.; Goel, N.; Wattal, C.
February 2015
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology;2015 Supplement 1, Vol. 33, pS106
Academic Journal
Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes significant morbidity and mortality in patients of end stage renal disease (ESRD) on haemodialysis (HD). Stringent screening methods can help in its early diagnosis. Objective: The study addresses the utility of real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RQ-PCR) in the diagnosis and monitoring of HCV infection especially on seronegative and normal serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) HD patients. Material and Methods: This retrospective study was carried out from January 2010 to December 2012. Patients of ESRD on maintenance HD and on whom all the three assays HCV antibody serology, PCR and ALT were done were included in the study (n = 123). Group 1 (n = 57), comprised of patients with negative serology and normal ALT, and Group 2 (n = 66), had either raised ALT and or a positive or equivocal serology. Results: Out of the 123 cases studied, HCV serology was positive in 36.5% (45), ALT raised in 18.6% (23) and PCR positive in 67.4% (83) cases. PCR positivity was significantly higher than serology and raised ALT. Group 2 had a significantly higher PCR positivity than Group 1 (P = 0.0004), but 50.9% patients of Group 1, were also PCR positive and 69% of them had a high viral count of >8 x 105 IU/ml at the time of detection. Conclusion: Regular routine screening of HCV by RQ-PCR in ESRD patients can help in early diagnosis of HCV infection in patients with low index of suspicion.


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