Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Dialysis: A Continuing Problem


Dr.Brian J.G. Pereira Division of Nephrology, Box 391, New England Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, U.S.A.


Patients on chronic dialysis are at increased risk of acquiring parenterally transmitted hepatitis viruses from blood product transfusions or nosocomial transmission in hemodialysis units, and biochemical abnormalities in liver function are seen in 10–44% of patients on chronic hemodialysis. In the past, hepatitis B virus (HBV) was the major cause of parenterally transmitted viral hepatitis in dialysis patients, and the remaining cases were attributed to non-A, non-B hepatitis (NANBH). The discovery of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has shed light on the cause and clinical course of NANBH in patients on dialysis. The current debate is focused on strategies to reduce the transmission of HCV among dialysis patients and to lessen the consequences of liver disease among patients already infected.