Frequency of Hepatitis C Virus Infection and Estimation of Serum Alanine Aminotransferase in HCV Positive Patients
Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has emerged as a leading cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Hepatitis C is rapidly emerging as a major health problem in developing countries including Pakistan. Serum Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) is the most frequently utilized screening test in routine evaluation of liver damage. This study was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus infection and its association with serum alanine aminotransferase.
Objective: Determination of the seroprevalence of hepatitis C virus infection and its association with serum alanine aminotransferase in patients at social security hospital, Islamabad.
Material and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted at clinical laboratory of social security hospital Islamabad, from May 2009 to October 2009. All samples referred to social security hospital for hepatitis profile were included in the study. All patients were screened serologically for hepatitis C virus antibodies and serum alanine aminotransferase was determined in selected HCV positive patients only.
Results: Out of 1006 blood samples 146 were positive for anti-HCV antibodies with an overall positivity of 14.5%. Out of these 55% cases were males and 45% were females. Seroprevalence of HCV was found to be 8% in the age group of <20 years, and almost equal i.e. 46% and 49% in 20-40 years and >40 years age groups respectively. Serum ALT was determined in total 83 patients only: they showed levels less than 30U/L in 25% patients, 30-45U/L in 15% patients, 46-60U/L in 19% patients, 61-100U/L in 29% patients and more than 100U/L in 12% patients.
Conclusion: The present study revealed that prevalence of HCV was 14.5% and ALT levels were found to be more than 45U/L in 75% of the anti HCV positive cases, showing the significance of this biochemical marker as diagnostic tool in such patients.
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