Undiagnosed hepatitis C on the general medicine and trauma services of two urban hospitals

Kathleen A. Brady, Mark Weiner, Barbara J. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The inpatient medical service may be an important location to identify undiagnosed hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We conducted a cross-sectional HCV prevalence study in consecutive patients aged 18-65 admitted in a three-month period to two urban hospitals' general internal medicine and trauma services. Patient sera were anonymously screened for anti-HCV antibody with an enzyme-linked immunoassay and, when anti-HCV positive (+), for HIV. Health system records were examined for prior HCV testing or diagnosis or an HIV diagnosis then linked anonymously to test results. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine associations of patient and health care factors with unknown HCV+ status. Of 786 unique patients tested (60.3% of all admitted patients), 62 (7.9%) were HCV+ without a prior HCV+ test or diagnosis while 61 patients (7.8%) tested HCV+ but had prior HCV+ test or diagnosis. Of 62 patients with unknown HCV+, 6 (9.7%) were HIV+ but only 3 had a prior HIV diagnosis; of 61 patients with known HCV+, all 9 (14.8%) HIV+ had been diagnosed. Among the 640 patients with prior unknown HCV status, an HCV+ test was strongly associated with age: 50-65 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 5.44, CI 2.20-13.48) and age 36-49 (AOR 4.65, CI 1.91-11.32) versus. 18-35. In this anonymous study, we could not obtain HCV risk factor data but the positive and negative predictive values of HCV testing all inpatients with an unknown HCV status were 99.3% and 99.0%, respectively. In similar urban general medicine and trauma services, broader efforts to test for HCV in inpatients aged 36-65 may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-69
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • HCV infections
  • Inpatients
  • Seroprevalence
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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