A survey of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and antibodies against hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) in 173 patients undergoing hemodialysis in Taiwan revealed that 15 (9%) patients were positive for both HBsAg and anti-HCV, 106 (61%) were positive for anti-HCV alone, and 14 (8%) were positive for HBsAg alone. Most HBsAg positivity was acquired before the onset of hemodialysis. Anti-HCV positivity, however, was mainly acquired via the hemodialysis procedure. Patients with dual markers were younger (43.7 ± 3.3 years old, p = 0.0274), had the longest period on hemodialysis (6.6 ± 1.3 years, p<0.001), and more severe liver dysfunction. When compared with those who were negative for both markers, patients with both HBsAg and anti-HCV had an increased incidence of chronicity (5/15 vs. 2/38; p<0.05), ultrasonographic cirrhosis (5/15 vs. 1/38; p<0.05), and clinical decompensation (2/15 vs. 0/38; p<0.05). Their risk for developing ultrasonographic cirrhosis and clinical decompensation was also greater than that of patients with anti-HCV alone (5/15 vs. 8/106 and 2/15 vs. 2/106; p<0.05 for both). The presence of HBsAg alone, however, did not increase the incidence of liver dysfunction. The presence of anti-HCV alone was only associated with a greater elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase (44.2 ± 5.5 vs. 19.1 ± 2.5 U/l; p<0.05) and an increased incidence of chronicity (30/106 vs. 2/38; p<0.05). Our results indicate that a high prevalence of HCV superinfection impose a significant risk on a large population of HBsAg-positive hemodialysis patients in Taiwan. As the coexistence of anti-HCV and HBsAg is associated with more severe liver dysfunction, it is urgent to devise effective methods to prevent HCV circulation in a hemodialysis environment – especially in a hepatitis B virus endemic area such as Taiwan. Copyright © 1996 S. Karger AG, Basel.
CitationChen, K.-S., Lo, S.-K., Lee, N., Leu, M.-L., Huang, C.-C., & Fang, K.-M. (1996). Superinfection with hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis patients with hepatitis B surface antigenemia: Its prevalence and clinical significance in Taiwan. Nephron, 73(2), 158-164. doi: 10.1159/000189033
- Antibody to hepatitis C virus
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- Liver dysfunction