Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
Home About us Ahead Of Print Instructions Submission Subscribe Advertise Contact e-Alerts Editorial Board Login 
Users Online:2227
  Print this page  Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
 


 
Table of Contents   
REVIEW ARTICLE  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 167-170
Study of incidence of hepatitis C virus infection in hemodialysis patients


1 Department of Microbiology, GSL General Hospital, Rajahmundry, India
2 Department of Microbiology, ASARM, Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Nephrology, ASARM, Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication16-Jan-2015
 

   Abstract 

The present study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection by antibody testing in hemodialysis (HD) patients. A total of 102 chronic renal failure patients on HD was studied. All the patients were tested for antiHCV. The overall prevalence of HCV infection was 23.5%. The longer a patient is on HD, the more susceptible he/she is to HCV acquisition. It is recommended that HD patients should be monitored in order to determine the full risk factors for HCV contamination observed in this study.

Keywords: Chronic renal failure, hemodialysis, hepatitis C virus Key messages: Strict adherence to universal precautions without isolating HCV-infected dialysis patients seems to be enough to control disease spread in HD units.

How to cite this article:
Chigurupati P, Subbarayudu S, Babu S. Study of incidence of hepatitis C virus infection in hemodialysis patients. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2014;7:167-70

How to cite this URL:
Chigurupati P, Subbarayudu S, Babu S. Study of incidence of hepatitis C virus infection in hemodialysis patients. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Sep 22];7:167-70. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2014/7/3/167/149499

   Introduction Top


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD) is an emerging condition and constitutes a major problem complicating the dialysis process in dialysis units worldwide. The prevalence of HCV among the HD patients varies in different countries worldwide from 1% to 85%. [1] The prevalence of HCV is particularly high in developing countries like India and is a major cause of increased morbidity and mortality in patients with terminal stage of renal disease. Cirrhosis, higher rate of graft loss, glomerulonephritis, and hepatocellular carcinoma are some of the far-reaching effects of HCV positivity in HD patients. The mode of transmission of this virus is still not conclusively defined. Factors such as blood transfusion and frequent parenteral interventions have been shown to be associated with increased risk for this HCV infection. [2] The duration of HD treatment and the possibility of nosocomial HCV transmission have also been suggested as additional contributing factors for this emerging HCV infection in India.

It is with this background that this scientific work was taken up in order to know the incidence of HCV infection with a view to control the HCV infection among HD undergoing patients to reduce morbidity and mortality due to HCV infection.


   Materials and Methods Top


Study design and patients

The study was performed in the Department of Microbiology in collaboration with Department of Nephrology of Alluri Sitaramaraju Academy of Medical Sciences (ASRAM) Hospital, Eluru. The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of ASRAM. A total of 102 chronic renal failure patients on HD was studied. Patients who tested HCV positive at the starting of HD were excluded from the study.

Serum collection and serology

With the informed consent, blood samples were collected of a total 102 HD undergoing patients who constituted the test group. By following all the standard necessary precautions, 5 ml of whole blood was drawn from each of the suspected HCV patients undergoing HD under strict aseptic conditions. All the blood samples were transported to the Department of Microbiology, and all the samples were allowed to clot. The clear serum was transferred into sterile test tubes. It was then centrifuged, and the clear supernatant was transferred into Lax Brow vials for preservation at 4°C in the refrigerator. All 102 blood samples sera were tested periodically for the incidence of HCV infection by determining the presence of antiHCV antibodies using a third generation ERBA ELISA Hepatitis C test kit manufactured by Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd., S.A. in Germany.

Hemodialys unit

The HD unit has one routine HD area and two isolated areas, one for HBsAg positive patients and other for antiHCV positive patients. The routine HD area has seven HD machines, HBsAg-positive area has one machine, and antiHCV positive area has one machine. All the patients who were proved negative for antiHCV before initiating dialysis were dialyzed in routine HD unit. Patients who were positive for antiHCV before initiating the dialysis were dialyzed on concerned machines in the respective isolated areas of HD unit. All the 102 patients received regular dialysis of 2-3 sessions/week.


   Results Top


Maximum number of cases in this study were in the age group between 41 and 60 years (49.1%) and least number of cases were in the age group up to 20 years (2.9%) [Table 1] with a male preponderance [Table 2]. Hypertensive nephropathy with chronic renal failure constituted the commonest disease group with the incidence of 73.5% [Table 3]. About 24 patients out of 102 screened tested positive for antiHCV antibodies, an incidence of 23.5% [Table 4]. Majority of the seropositive cases belonged to the 41-60 age group [Table 5].
Table 1: Age-wise distribution of cases among tested total cases

Click here to view
Table 2: Sex-wise distribution of cases

Click here to view
Table 3: Diseases wise incidence among dialysis patients

Click here to view
Table 4: Distribution of seropositives and seronegatives among the patients tested for HCV in this study

Click here to view
Table 5: Age- and sex-wise distribution among seropositive cases

Click here to view


Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level of 1.5 times the normal level (40 U/l) was considered as abnormal. Levels were raised in 10 out of the 24 seropositive patients (41.6%). Levels were normal in the rest of the 14 seropositive patients. None of the patients in seronegative group had abnormal ALT levels [Table 6].

The mean value of ALT in the seropositive group was 75.0 ± 77.0 U/l. The mean value of ALT in seronegative group was 23.9 ± 12.0 U/l. This difference between the two groups was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.004, <0.01, Student's t-test) [Table 7].
Table 6: ALT levels in seropositive and seronegative cases

Click here to view
Table 7: Mean and "P" values

Click here to view


The mean number of sessions in the seropositive group was 85.4 ± 23.7 and in seronegative group was 60.1 ± 14.2 [Table 7]. There was significant difference in the number of sessions between seropositive and seronegative patients (P = 0.0001, <0.01, Student's t-test) [Table 7].

The mean average values of ALT levels and HD sessions were significantly high in HCV-positive patients (P < 0.01) [Table 7].


   Discussion Top


Hemodialysis patients are at high risk for the development of hepatitis C infection. However, the data of prevalence of HCV infection among Indian HD patients are inadequate. Salunkhe et al.[3] reported 45%, Chadha et al.[4] reported 12.1%, Sumathi et al. [5] reported 37.5%, Agarwal et al. [6] reported 42% and Jaiswal et al. [7] in a study from 1992 to 2000 reported prevalence of 30%. The prevalence of HCV infection among the HD patients at our institute is 23.5%.

Nosocomial transmission, prolonged vascular access, potential for exposure to infected patients and contaminated equipment and sharing of multi-dose heparin vials are some factors responsible for the high risk in HD patients.

Historically, the number of blood transfusions received were consistently reported in the literature to be associated with an increased prevalence of HCV positive dialysis patients. [8] However, several recent studies could not recognize blood transfusions as an independent risk factor in HCV spread among HD subjects. [9]

The prevalence of antiHCV was 13.3% in patients who had HD for <1 year in comparison to 69.9% in patients who had HD for >10 years [10] indicating that the duration of HD is related to the risk of developing HCV infection.

Hepatitis C virus does not penetrate the membrane pores of dialyzer; the size of the virus is 10 times more than the dialysis membrane pores. [11] Hence, although the potential sources of nosocomial transmission could be dialyzer reuse, internal contamination of HD monitors, environmental aerosols, droplets contaminated with the virus and contaminated hands and articles, the two former mechanisms are almost unlikely. [12]

The performance parameters of the testing method used have a direct impact on the detection of hepatitis C and thus can lead to differences in the prevalence data. In the early 1990s, the first generation HCV antibody testing kits were introduced using NS4 antigen. These tests were further improvised with the addition of NS3 and the core regions of the viral genome. This second generation ELISA assay had a higher sensitivity and specificity over the earlier one. [13],[14] At present, the third generation ELISA assays use highly purified antigens with addition of NS5 region of HCV genome and have the highest sensitivity and specificity. [15] The kit used by us has a combination of recombinant and synthetic peptides as antigens with 100% sensitivity and 67% specificity.

With the advent of molecular techniques, the circulating virus can now be detected by HCV RNA measurement using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. [16] This testing is used for early detection (before seroconversion) and is also essential for confirmation of active HCV infection and monitoring of antiviral therapy. However, the limitation of this test is the cost effectiveness and nonavailability in most of the laboratories.

In our study, only antiHCV was taken as criteria to diagnose HCV infection. PCR test is required if the patients are planned to be put on antiviral therapy. This was definitely not the aim of the present study. Thus, although the limitation exists for the use of single antiHCV test, considering all factors, it is still a test of choice for HCV screening as recommended by Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The current CDC recommendations for HCV screening in HD patients include testing for antiHCV and serum ALT on admission, ALT every month, and antiHCV semiannually.

Lack of strict adherence to universal precautions by staff and sharing of articles like multi-dose drugs might be the main mode of nosocomial HCV spread among HD patients. [17] since use of separate dialysis machines for HCV-positive patients was the norm at our center, the prevalence rate which we had indicates the importance of the role of nosocomial transmission through cross-contamination via gloves, personnel or heparin vials.

Although some studies found that nosocomial spread of HCV declined when HCV-infected patients were treated in dedicated HD units, other investigators could control nosocomial spread by strict application of hygienic precautions without isolation of HCV-infected subjects or machine segregation. [18]

Centers for Disease Control recommend that special precautions should be observed in dialysis units. These include wearing and changing of gloves and water-proof gowns between patients, systematic decontamination of the equipment circuit and surfaces after each patient treatment, and no sharing of instruments (e.g., tourniquets) or medications (e.g., multi-dose vials of heparin) among patients. [19]

To promote more efficient biosafety controls, quality programs must be implemented in dialysis centers addressing methodology training of technical teams and constant monitoring by epidemiological authorities.

It is recommended that HD patients should be monitored in order to determine the full risk factors for HCV contamination observed in this study.


   Conclusions Top


Hepatitis C virus infection is more prevalent among HD patients in the developing countries. HCV infection prominently increases the burden of disease in the HD population. The longer a patient is on HD, the more susceptible he/she is to HCV acquisition. HD patients should be routinely screened for HCV infection, preferably using serological methods. Strict adherence to universal precautions along with isolating HCV-infected dialysis patients might help to control disease spread in HD units.

 
   References Top

1.
Dalekos GN, Boumba DS, Katopodis K, Zervou E, Sferopoulos G, Elisaf M, et al. Absence of HCV viraemia in anti-HCV-negative haemodialysis patients. Nephrol Dial Transplant 1998;13:1804-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Bdour S. Hepatitis C virus infection in Jordanian haemodialysis units: Serological diagnosis and genotyping. J Med Microbiol 2002;51:700-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Salunkhe PN, Naik SR, Semwal SN, Naik S, Kher V. Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus in HBsAg negative hemodialysis patients. Indian J Gastroenterol 1992;11:164-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Chadha MS, Arankalle VA, Jha J, Banerjee K. Prevalence of hepatitis B and C virus infections among haemodialysis patients in Pune (western India) Vox Sang 1993;64:127-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Sumathi S, Valliammai T, Thyagarajan SP, Malathy S, Madanagopalan N, Sankarnarayan V, et al. Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection in liver disease, renal disease and voluntary blood donors in south India. Indian J Med Microbiol 1993;11:291-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Agarwal SK, Dash SC, Irshad M. Hepatitis C virus infection during haemodialysis in India. J Assoc Physicians India 1999;47:1139-43.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Jaiswal SP, Chitnis DS, Salgia P, Sepaha A, Pandit CS. Prevalence of hepatitis viruses among chronic renal failure patients on hemodialysis in central India. Dial Transplant 2002;31:234-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Wreghitt TG. Blood-borne virus infections in dialysis units - a review. Rev Med Virol 1999;9:101-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Othman B, Monem F. Prevalence of antibodies to hepatitis C virus among hemodialysis patients in Damascus, Syria. Infection 2001;29:262-5.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Gomes M, Gigante LP, Gomes J, Boschetti J, Carvalho G. Anti-HCV seropositivity in dialysis patients. Rev Saude Publica 2006;40:931-4.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Moreira RC, Lemos MF, Longui CA, Granato C. Hepatitis C and hemodialysis: A review. Braz J Infect Dis 2005;9:269-75.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Rahnavardi M, Hosseini Moghaddam SM, Alavian SM. Hepatitis C in hemodialysis patients: Current global magnitude, natural history, diagnostic difficulties, and preventive measures. Am J Nephrol 2008;28:628-40.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Hinrichsen H, Leimenstoll G, Stegen G, Schrader H, Fölsch UR, Schmidt WE; PHV Study Group. Prevalence and risk factors of hepatitis C virus infection in haemodialysis patients: A multicentre study in 2796 patients. Gut 2002;51:429-33.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Couroucé AM, Le Marrec N, Girault A, Ducamp S, Simon N. Anti-hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) seroconversion in patients undergoing hemodialysis: Comparison of second- and third-generation anti-HCV assays. Transfusion 1994;34:790-5.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Lakshmi V, Reddy AK, Dakshinamurty KV. Evaluation of commercially available third-generation anti-hepatitis C virus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in patients on haemodialysis. Indian J Med Microbiol 2007;25:140-2.  Back to cited text no. 15
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
16.
Lee SR, Peterson J, Niven P, Bahl C, Page E, DeLeys R, et al. Efficacy of a hepatitis C virus core antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the identification of ′window-phase′ blood donations. Vox Sang 2001;80:19-23.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Jadoul M. Epidemiology and mechanisms of transmission of the hepatitis C virus in haemodialysis. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2000;15 Suppl 8:39-41.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Taskapan H, Oymak O, Dogukan A, Utas C. Patient to patient transmission of hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis units. Clin Nephrol 2001;55:477-81.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Recommendations for prevention and control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and HCV-related chronic disease. Centers for disease control and prevention. MMWR Recomm Rep 1998;47:1-39.  Back to cited text no. 19
    

Top
Correspondence Address:
Pragati Chigurupati
Department of Microbiology, GSL General Hospital, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.149499

Rights and Permissions



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7]



 

Top
 
  Search
 
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *


    Abstract
   Introduction
    Materials and Me...
   Results
   Discussion
   Conclusions
    References
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed2251    
    Printed71    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded16    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal