Background: The characteristics of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in predialysis patients are poorly understood and they could be different from hemodialysis patients. Aims: To evaluate the demographics, laboratory and histological characteristics of chronic HCV infection in predialysis patients and to compare them with those observed in hemodialysis patients. Methods: Thirty-nine predialysis patients with chronic HCV infection were compared to HCV-infected hemodialysis patients (ratio of 1:3) in terms of demographics, laboratory and histological characteristics. The fibrosis progression rate (FPR) was calculated as the ratio between fibrosis stage and duration of infection. Results: Predialysis patients were older (57 ± 10 vs. 45 ± 12 years; p < 0.001), presented a higher proportion of elevated alanine aminotransferase (71.8 vs. 41.0%; p = 0.001) and aspartate aminotransferase (64.1 vs. 26.5%; p < 0.001), a higher proportion of interface hepatitis (66.7 vs. 47%; p = 0.033) and more advanced fibrosis (71.8 vs. 16.2%; p = 0.001). Among patients with estimated duration of infection, predialysis patients presented a longer duration of infection (22 vs. 6 years; p < 0.001) and no difference in FPR was observed between groups (p = 0.692). Conclusion: Although predialysis patients with HCV infection present more severe histological injury than hemodialysis patients, this finding probably reflects a longer duration of infection with no evidence supporting that hepatitis C presents a more aggressive course in this group.
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