Clinical management of HCV carriers with normal aminotransferase levels

C. Puoti, M. Guido, A. Mangia, M. Persico, D. Prati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An ad hoc committee appointed by the Italian Association for the Study of the Liver (AISF) proposed these Practice Guidelines for the management of HCV carriers with persistently normal aminotransferase levels. Only stringent ALT determinations will make it possible to distinguish these subjects from those in temporary biochemical remission. The overall prevalence in Italy has been estimated between 1.5 and 10.6%. HCV RNA quantitation and genotype determination are not predictors of the presence and severity of liver damage nor correlate with the outcome of the disease, and should not be used in clinical practice for the management and surveillance of HCV carriers with normal ALT. Only a minority of HCV carriers with normal ALT levels show a normal morphological picture (true 'healthy carriers'). Disease activity is mild in most cases; fibrosis is generally mild and cirrhosis is very rare. Histological activity, as monitored by sequential liver biopsies, seems to have very slow evolution. HCV carriers should not undergo liver biopsy on a routine basis. Liver biopsy can be reasonably proposed only in selected cases. Until the results of studies with PLG interferon plus ribavirin are available, HCV carriers should not receive antiviral treatment outside controlled experimental studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-369
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • Aminotransferases
  • HCV carriers
  • Interferon
  • Liver biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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