Anti-hepatitis C virus screening will reduce the incidence of post-transfusion hepatitis C also in low-risk areas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The incidence of post-transfusion hepatitis non-A, non-B (PTH-NANB) was prospectively assessed in two areas in the southeast region of Sweden. Patients undergoing hip arthroplasty were studied with blood sampling for alanine aminotransferase analysis before and at 2, 3, and 4 months after transfusion. Of the patients 97% and 82% were transfused and received a mean of 5.5 and 3.4 units in Linkoping and Oskarshamn, respectively. None of 38 patients in Oskarshamn but 4 of 144 patients (2.8%) in Linkoping contracted PTH-NANB. Two of these four patients developed antibodies against hepatitis C virus (HCV) by the first-generation anti-HCV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (C100). The other two patients remained negative by this test. HCV infection was, however, indicated in all four patients by positive second-generation anti-HCV ELISA confirmed by positive second-generation recombinant immunoblot assay (4-RIBA). Three of the patients were positive by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Serum from one blood donor to the four hepatitis patients (altogether three donors) was found positive by first- and second-generation anti-HCV ELISA and 4-RIBA and was also PCR-positive. Three other blood donors, who did not transmit hepatitis, were anti-HCV ELISA (C100)-positive. This study shows that if anti-HCV ELISA had been available at the start of the trial, all cases of PTH would have been avoided at the expense of only 0.7% transfusion units discarded. Routine anti-HCV ELISA testing of all transfusion units will reduce the incidence of PTH-C even in low-risk areas.


  • U L Mathiesen
  • B Ekermo
  • U Foberg
  • L Franzen
  • A Fryden
  • R Norlin
  • L G Pettersson
  • H Sterling
  • Anders Widell
  • G Bodemar
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology


  • Anti-hepatitis C virus screening, polymerase chain reaction, post-transfusion hepatitis C, post-transfusion hepatitis non-A non-B, second-generation anti-hepatitis C virus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, second-generation recombinant immunoblot assay
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-448
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Publication categoryResearch