Hepatitis Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 832021, 4 pages
Research Article

Hepatitis C Virus Core Antigen Test in Monitoring of Dialysis Patients

1Nephrology and Dialysis, ARNAS Civico and Di Cristina Hospital, Via Francesco Cilea 43, 90144 Palermo, Italy
2Microbiology and Virology, ARNAS Civico and Di Cristina Hospital, Palermo, Italy

Received 16 July 2012; Revised 10 November 2012; Accepted 11 November 2012

Academic Editor: Mikio Zeniya

Copyright © 2012 Gioacchino Li Cavoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hepatitis C virus infection is a persistent worldwide public health concern. The prevalence of HCV infection is much higher in patients on chronic haemodialysis (HD) than in the general population. HCV infection can detrimentally affect patients throughout the spectrum of chronic kidney disease. Despite the control of blood products, hepatitis C virus transmission is still being observed among patients undergoing dialysis. Detection systems for serum HCV antibodies are insensitive in the acute phase because of the long serological window. Direct detection of HCV depends on PCR test but this test is not suitable for routine screening. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of HCV core antigen detection as an alternative to PCR. Few studies exist about the efficacy of HCV core antigen test in dialysis population. We studied the utility of HCV core antigen test in routine monitoring of virological status of dialysis patients. We screened 92 patients on long-term dialysis both by PCR HCV-RNA and HCV core antigen test. The sensitivity of HCVcAg test was 90%, the specificity 100%, the positive predictive power 100%, the negative predictive power 97%, and the accuracy 97%. We think serological detection of HCV core antigen may be an alternative to NAT techniques for routine monitoring of patients on chronic dialysis.