The potential role of digestive endoscopy as a mode for transmission of Hepatitis C virus is controversial.
Dr Ciancio evaluated the role of digestive endoscopy in transmitting Hepatitis C.
The research team compared the incidence of Hepatitis C infection in a cohort of patients undergoing endoscopy and in a cohort of blood donors.
|8260 undergoing endoscopy remained anti-Hepatitis C-negative 6 months after the procedure|
|Annals of Internal Medicine|
The team conducted a prospective cohort study in 3 endoscopic units and 2 blood banks in northwestern Italy.
The potentially exposed cohort consisted of 9188 outpatients consecutively recruited from 3 endoscopic units.
Of 9008 patients negative for antibody to Hepatitis C (anti-Hepatitis C), the team retested 8260 for anti-Hepatitis C 6 months after endoscopy.
The unexposed cohort consisted of 51,230 healthy, anti-Hepatitis C–negative persons who donated blood at 2 blood banks in the same area and during the same time.
The researchers reported that 38,280 of these patients were tested again for anti-Hepatitis C 6 to 48 months after the first blood donation.
The team evaluated differences in the anti-Hepatitis C seroconversion rate between the exposed cohort (patients undergoing endoscopy) and the unexposed cohort (blood donors).
The researchers evaluated seroconversion by a third-generation enzyme immunoassay for anti-Hepatitis C.
Persons positive for anti-Hepatitis C were tested for Hepatitis C RNA by polymerase chain reaction.
The researchers found that all 8260 persons undergoing endoscopy remained negative for anti-Hepatitis C 6 months after the procedure.
None of the 912 patients who underwent endoscopy with the same instrument previously used on Hepatitis C carriers showed anti-Hepatitis C seroconversion.
The research team observed that 4 blood donors became positive for anti-Hepatitis C and Hepatitis C RNA.
The researchers noted that each had undergone minor surgery before the second test.
The team reported that in the endoscopy cohort, 8% of patients were lost to follow-up.
Dr Ciancio's team concludes, “These findings support the hypothesis that properly performed digestive endoscopy is not a major risk factor for the transmission of Hepatitis C.”