Acute and Chronic Hepatitis C in Hemodialysis Patients
Nir Hilzenrat, Marcus Mostoslavsky, David Tovbin
Liver Disease Service - Division of Gastroenterology, Dialysis Unit, Dept. of Nephrology and Division of Internal Medicine, Soroka Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba
Acquired infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in hemodialysis patients has been described lately. In dialysis units in Italy and France, the prevalence and incidence of HCV are 20-60% and 1-2%, respectively. Most infected patients develop chronic hepatitis. The clinical presentation of acute HCV in hemodialysis patients is very mild and therefore the diagnosis is often made only by laboratory tests. Acute infection is usually followed by mild elevation of liver enzymes and the presence of HCV-RNA and anti-HCV in serum.
We report a 48-year-old man on hemodialysis who developed acute hepatitis C. The diagnosis was made by finding mild elevation of liver enzymes and the presence of HCV-RNA in his serum. A few months later, he developed severe hepatitis which was followed by rapid deterioration in liver function. However, the virus was eradicated and liver function tests became normal. Surprisingly, serum anti-HCV antibodies were detected 5 months later.