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Hepatitis E virus serum antibodies and RNA prevalence in patients evaluated for heart and kidney transplantation

Alberto Unzueta, Riccardo Valdez, Yu-Hui H. Chang, Yvonne M. Desmarteau, Raymond L. Heilman, Robert L. Scott, David D. Douglas, Jorge Rakela


Background. Acute hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection in solid organ transplant recipients is rare, but can cause severe hepatic and extrahepatic complications. We sought to identify the pretransplant prevalence of HEV infection in heart and kidney candidates and any associated risk factors for infection. Material and methods. Stored frozen serum from patients undergoing evaluation for transplant was tested for HEV immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies and HEV RNA. All patients were seen at Mayo Clinic Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, with 333 patients evaluated for heart (n = 132) or kidney (n = 201) transplant. HEV IgG antibodies (anti-HEV IgG) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and HEV RNA by a noncommercial nucleic acid amplification assay. Results. The prevalence of anti-HEV IgG was 11.4% (15/132) for heart transplant candidates and 8.5% (17/201) for kidney transplant candidates, with an overall seroprevalence of 9.6% (32/333). None of the patients tested positive for HEV RNA in the serum. On multivariable analysis, age older than 60 years was associated with HEV infection (adjusted odds ratio, 3.34; 95% CI, 1.54-7.24; P = 0.002). Conclusions. We conclude that there was no evidence of acute HEV infection in this pretransplant population and that older age seems to be associated with positive anti-HEV IgG.

Key words. Risk Factors, Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay, Nucleic acid amplification techniques

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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