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Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 1992 Feb; 81(2): 117-20.

[Prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibody in chronic HBsAg-negative non alcoholic hepatopathy]

Bárcena Marugán R, Nash R, Pascasio JM, Sáez de Santa-María J, Avilés J, García Hoz F, Moreira VF, Cano A, Milicua JM, Graus J.

Servicio de Gastroenterología y de Microbiología del Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Alcalá.

The presence of antibody to hepatitis C virus was determined in 316 HBsAg-negative patients with non-alcoholic chronic hepatitis who did not receive any blood transfusion once the diagnosis was made. A titre of antinuclear antibodies of 1/40 or lower was found in 18 patients. Persistent chronic hepatitis was present in 21 patients, active chronic hepatitis in 145, hepatic cirrhosis in 128, and hepatocarcinoma in 22 patients. One hundred and three patients had previously received blood transfusion, 76 had undergone previous surgery without transfusion, a clinical episode of hepatitis could be traced in 14, 13 patients were drug addicts (all of them HIV negative), 1 patient had received multiples injections, another had been treated with acupuncture, and 108 patients were free of any of the above. Anti-HCV was present in 76.6% of patients; a significantly higher proportion (87.4%) was found among patients who had received blood transfusion than in patients with previous surgery (72.4%) (p = 0.012), clinical hepatitis (57.1%), or without previous hepatic disease (70.3%) (p = 0.003). The incidence of anti-HCV was lower among cirrhotics (70.3%) than in patients with active chronic hepatitis (84.1%) (p = 0.006); in contrast, previous blood transfusion was significantly higher (p = 0.001) among the latter (40.7%) than in cirrhotics (21.9%). The incidence of anti-HCV was similar among patients with (78.6%) and without (75.8%) type B infection. Our results suggest that infection with virus C may account for a high proportion of non-alcoholic non-B chronic hepatitis.

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