Journal Article

Prevalence of and risk factors for hepatitis G (HGV) infection in haemodialysis patients: a multicentre study

Holger Hinrichsen, Gerd Leimenstoll, Gorch Stegen, Henning Schrader, Ulrich R. Fölsch and Wolfgang E. Schmidt

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 17, issue 2, pages 271-275
Published in print February 2002 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online February 2002 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Prevalence of and risk factors for hepatitis G (HGV) infection in haemodialysis patients: a multicentre study

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Background. Hepatitis G virus (HGV) or GB‐virus type C (GBV‐C) is, like hepatitis C, a blood‐borne virus and a member of the family of flaviviridae. HGV is distributed globally and is present in the volunteer blood donor population. Thus, for epidemiological reasons, HGV is of interest in haemodialysis patients, who are at risk of parenterally transmitted infections. The aim of the present investigation was to assess the prevalence of HGV by antibody testing and HGV‐RNA determination by PCR.

Methods. The study was performed in haemodialysis units of the Patienten‐Heim‐Versorgung, an organization of haemodialysis units throughout Germany. A total of 2796 out of 3042 patients (92%) from 43 haemodialysis units were enrolled prospectively in the trial. Liver function tests were performed and epidemiologic data were obtained to evaluate risk factors for HGV in haemodialysis patients.

Results. Antibodies against HGV were detected in 485 patients (17.5%). Viraemia was seen in 380 out of 1935 patients tested (19.6%). Fifty‐eight patients (3.0%) were positive for both antibodies and HGV‐RNA. Using a standard questionnaire in 1717 out of the 2786 patients, it was found that more than five blood transfusions increased the risk of HGV infection significantly (P<0.05). There was no association found between HGV infection and the length of time on haemodialysis.

Conclusion. HGV is common in German haemodialysis patients but, in contrast to other parenterally transmitted viruses, there is no further risk for new infections during haemodialysis, except for patients who have received several blood transfusions.

Keywords: GBV‐C; haemodialysis; hepatitis G; prevalence; risk factors; viraemia

Journal Article.  3151 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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