Blood transfusion and hepatitis: still a threat?
- Cite this article as:
- Reesink, H.W. & van der Poel, C.L. Blut (1989) 58: 1. doi:10.1007/BF00320227
The incidence of post-transfusion hepatitis (PTH) in recipients of blood products is reviewed. PTH was observed in 10%–12% of recipients of blood products in the United States, 2%–4% in northern Europe and 15%–20% in southern Europe. All studies indicate that 80%–90% of all PTH cases are attributed to non-A/non-B. At least 40% of the patients with PTH non-A/non-B will develop chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis. No specific tests for the detection of the non-A/non-B agent(s) exist. However, several independent studies indicate that part of the donors carrying the infectious non-A/non-B agent have increased levels of alanine amino transferase (ALT). When donors are excluded with elevated ALT values, it is estimated that about 30% of the PTH non-A/non-B cases would be prevented. Some studies indicate that anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc) positive donors may carry an increased risk to transmit the non-A/non-B agent, but more recent studies do not confirm this. There is hope that a specific non-A/non-B test will be developed soon.