Prevalence of Hepatitis C among Multi-transfused Thalassaemic Patients in Oman : Single centre experience

Khalid Al-Naamani, Ibrahim Al-Zakwani, Siham Al-Sinani, Fauzia Wasim, Shahina Daar

Abstract


Objectives: Regular blood transfusions are essential for patients with thalassaemia major. However, infections with hepatotropic viruses remain a major concern. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence and characteristics of hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection among patients with homozygous beta thalassaemia in a single centre in Oman. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 200 patients treated at the Thalassemia Unit of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH) in Muscat, Oman, between August 1991 and December 2011 was performed. Relevant demographic and clinical characteristics were collected, including age, gender, HCV status and the presence of endocrinopathies. Results: A total of 81 patients (41%) were found to be anti-HCV-antibody (anti-HCV)-positive. HCV ribonucleic acid tests were performed on 65 anti-HCV-positive patients and were positive among 33 (51%); the remaining 16 patients died before these tests were available. Anti-HCV-positive patients were significantly older than anti-HCV-negative patients (P <0.001) and were more likely to be diabetic than anti-HCV-negative patients (27% versus 8%; P <0.001). A total of 100 patients had been transfused before they were transferred to SQUH in 1991; of these, 70 (70%) were anti-HCV-positive. Only 11 (11.5%) of the 96 patients who were seronegative in 1991, or who were transfused later, became seropositive. Conclusion: It is likely that the high prevalence of HCV among multi-transfused thalassaemic patients in Oman is due to blood transfusions dating from before the implementation of HCV screening in 1991 as the risk of HCVassociated transfusions has significantly reduced since then. Additionally, results showed that anti-HCV-positive patients were more likely to be diabetic than anti-HCV-negative patients.

Keywords


Hepatitis C; Anti-HCV Antibodies; Beta Thalassemia; Seroprevalence; Blood Transfusions; Blood Safety; Oman.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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