[The problem of hepatitis C virus infection in blood donors. Clinico-epidemiological, virological and histological evaluation].Medicina (B Aires) 1997; 57(6):699-707M
Our aim was to identify prospectively, with a case-control survey, risk factors for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in volunteer blood donors and to assess the histological features and their correlation with transaminase (ALT) level and viremia. In a Liver Unit of a referral-based University Hospital, 248 blood donors were evaluated for risk factors, according to definitive ELISA test and 132 were considered true positive. Of these, 132 anti-HCV(+) blood donors were age and sex-matched with the anti-HCV-negative group (n = 116). There was a high frequency in the anti-HCV(+) group of intravenous drug abuse (IVDA) (22%), history of major surgery (20.4%), tattooing (12.1%), non IVDA (17.4%), and multiple sexual partners or history of sexual transmitted diseases (25.7%). At least one risk factor was identified in 76.52% of the antiHCV(+) donors vs 34.4% in the anti-HCV (-) group (p = 0.000). A total of 71 patients accepted a liver biopsy; chronic liver disease was present in 85.9% (n = 61) (mean Knodell score 6.75). ALT was elevated in 69% (n = 49) and HCV RNA was detectable in 76% of patients. It can be concluded that in our study 76.5% of anti HCV positive blood donors showed at least one risk factor for HCV infection detected by a second highly efficient interview. Twenty two percent admitted to prior intravenous drug use although this disqualifies them for blood donation, but was not identified by the screening process. Most blood donors with anti HCV(+) had chronic hepatitis C regardless of their serum ALT levels. Normal ALT did not exclude liver disease.