Background: The significance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies in blood donors with persistently normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels requires evaluation. Study Design and Methods: The serum and the liver were assayed for HCV RNA. Liver histology was analyzed in 14 HCV-positive subjects who had repeatedly normal ALT values over a follow-up period of at least 3 months. Results: HCV RNA was not detected in liver and serum, and liver histology showed minimal changes in more than one-half of the subjects (8/14), even if third-generation recombinant immunoblot assay was positive; this demonstrated that HCV can be eradicated spontaneously. Moderately histopathological liver lesions were usually found in HCV RNA-positive subjects (6/14), but one subject had active disease that required interferon therapy; this shows that chronic hepatitis may be present in HCV-positive individuals despite repeatedly normal transaminase values. HCV genotypes other than 1b (II) were usually identified, and the presence or absence of serum and liver HCV RNA correlated completely in all 14 patients. Conclusion: Serum HCV RNA should be assayed in those HCV-positive donors having repeatedly normal transaminase activity; if it is positive, indicating an ongoing HCV infection, a liver biopsy should be performed to measure the degree of the liver disease and determine the appropriate antiviral therapy.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|
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