Hepatitis C screening and referral for further investigation and treatment in a tertiary care hospital
Introduction: Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer worldwide. The knowledge of physicians about what should they do in case of any anti-HCV positivity in screening tests is of great importance. In this study the awareness and knowledge of physicians is evaluated by analyzing the rate of the referrals of anti-HCV positive patients to HCV RNA test and their treatment by different clinics.
Methodology: The patients tested for anti-HCV in internal medicine, surgery, gastroenterology and infectious disease clinics between 1 January and 31 December 2017 were evaluated retrospectively in a tertiary care hospital.
Results: Anti-HCV testing was performed in 32,803 patients. Anti-HCV positivity was detected in 95 (0.28%) patients aged 88 years of age or younger (mean 60.89 ± 16.96 years), 57.89% of them were female. HCV RNA was tested in 50 (%52,63) of anti-HCV positive patients and it was found positive in 18 (36%) patients. In anti-HCV positive patients HCV RNA testing was requested most by infectious disease (100%) and gastroenterology (70.58%) clinics and least by surgery and other clinics (21% and 25% respectively). These differences were found to be statistically significant ( =33.65, p < 001).
Conclusions: Our study highlights the significant deficiencies existed in the referring patients with anti-HCV positivity for further examination and treatment by the attending physicians especially in surgical clinics. Performing HCV screening in the different steps of medical care and using electronic reminder systems directing physicians at appropriate diagnostic and treatment protocols can maximize the likelihood of the detection and treatment of HCV- infected patients.
Copyright (c) 2020 Gülşen İskender, Duygu Mert, Sabahat Çeken, Melike Bahçecitapar, Ayla Yenigün, Mustafa Ertek
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