[Hepatitis virus infection among hemodialysis patients].
ABSTRACT AIM, PATIENTS AND METHODS: The high prevalence of anti-hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti-HCV) in hemodialyzed (HD) patients has been recognized since the early 1990s. Over the last decade, a significant decrease of anti-HCV prevalence among HD patients has been observed in many west European countries. In order to evaluate whether this trend is also present in Dialysis Center of Dubrava University Hospital, Zagreb, we tested HD patients for anti-HCV and HCV RNA in serum. ELISA 3 (Sorin) was used as a screening anti-HCV test, and confirmatory testing relied on western blotting (BioRad). HCV RNA was tested by HCV RNA PCR (Roche) and AMPLICOR, HCV test, version 2.0 (Roche). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The low prevalence of HCV infection is a consequence of the screening of blood donors with increasingly sensitive anti-HCV tests, followed by the progressive reduction of blood transfusion due to the availability of erythropoietin and the reinforcement of universral hygienic precautions and strict infection control in our HD unit. A contributing factor was the prevention of nosocomial transmission by the separation of anti-HCV positive from anti-HCV negative patients. Thus, the low prevalence of HCV infection in our HD center contributes-to an improved prognosis in end stage renal disease patients by additionally reducing the risk of nosocomial HCV infection.