Hepatitis C core antigen testing to diagnose active hepatitis C infection among haemodialysis patients.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects more than 71 million people worldwide and chronic HCV infection increases the risk of liver cirrhosis and failure. Haemodialysis (HD) is one of the renal replacement therapies with risk of HCV transmission. Anti-HCV antibodies are the serological screening test for HCV infection that does not detect active phase of infection. Majority HCV infected HD patients in Malaysia do not have further HCV RNA performed due to high cost and thus HCV treatment is less frequently offered. HCV Core Antigen (HCV Ag) can potentially be used to diagnose active HCV infection in HD population in comparison to HCV RNA, at lower cost.We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the correlation between HCV Ag and HCV RNA and to identify the prevalence of active HCV infection among HCV seropositive HD patients from dialysis centres across West Malaysia from July 2019 to May 2020. Pre-dialysis blood was taken and tested for both HCV Ag and HCV RNA tests. HCV Ag was tested with Abbott ARCHITECT HCV Ag test.We recruited 112 seropositive HD patients from 17 centres with mean age of 54.04 ± 11.62 years, HD vintage of 14.1 ± 9.7 years, and male constitute 59.8% (67) of the study population. HCV Ag correlates well with HCV RNA (Spearman test coefficient 0.833, p 3000 IU/mL, HCV Ag had a higher sensitivity of 95.1% and greater correlation (Spearman test coefficient 0.897, p