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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2015 March;61(1):39-49


lingua: Inglese

Management of hepatitis C infection among patients with renal failure

Latt N. L. 1, Araz F. 2, Alachkar N. 3, Durand C. M. 4, Gurakar A. 2

1 Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA; 2 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Transplant Hepatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; 3 Division of Nephrology, Department of Transplant Hepatology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; 4 Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a rising global public health burden with an estimated 130-150 million infected people worldwide and 350,000 to 500,000 HCV-related deaths each year. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is also a highly prevalent public health issue as the escalating numbers of patients worldwide are developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension due to high fat diets and a growing obesity epidemic. The high incidence and prevalence of HCV infection leads to substantial morbidity and mortality among renal dialysis patients. Recommendations are to screen for HCV infection among all patients with renal failure especially prior to initiation of hemodialysis and renal transplant evaluation. HCV-antibody enzyme immunoassay (EIA) followed by confirmation with HCV RNA nucleic acid test (NAT) is recommended for low prevalence regions, but in dialysis centers with a high prevalence of HCV, initial testing with NAT is recommended due to higher false positive EIA rates. Liver biopsy is used to assess of liver disease severity. Transjugular liver biopsy, as an effective and safe technique in patients with ESRD can be considered instead of percutaneous approach. Non-invasive approaches to staging fibrosis, including liver stiffness measurement by transient elastography and panels of serum fibrosis biomarkers, are also widely used. Although difficult to manage, combined pegylated- interferon (PEG IFN) and ribavirin therapy was the only treatment modality available for HCV-positive patients until the recently introduced new direct-acting antiviral agents. However, except boceprevir, there are no currently available data to suggest that these new anti-viral drugs are safe and effective among end-stage renal failure patients. IFN-containing regimens were also associated with high rates of renal graft loss in post-renal transplant patients. Therefore, management of HCV infection in renal failure patients is unique and should be tailored individually with calculated risk/benefit ratio. New studies are immediately warranted to determine the safety profile and efficacy of newer anti-HCV drugs not only in patients with end-stage renal failure prior to kidney transplantation but also among kidney transplant recipients.

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