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What does a positive anti HCV test indicate?

Q: My 45 years old mother is on dialysis for last two years. In a recent blood test she is detected positive for the anti HCV test with a value of 89.93 S/CO. How serious is this? Is this curable?

A:Your mother has tested positive for hepatitis C antibody based on the blood test report. Next step should be an evaluation by a Gastroenterologist/Hepatologist (specialist dealing with liver diseases) who would undertake further blood tests (to study liver function) and liver biopsy to study the evidence of liver involvement by hepatitis C virus. Based on the report, one could offer treatment, namely interferon to treat chronic liver disease associated with hepatitis C virus in patients on dialysis. There is no standard recommendation with regard to the dosage or the duration of the treatment in dialysis patients due to lack of proven conclusive study. Also, there is a prevailing concern regarding the safety of interferon if given to patients on dialysis. Usual recommended dosage known to cause improvement in the activity of hepatitis C related liver disease process is 3 million units of alpha interferon given three times a week for 6 to 12 months with close observation of side effects. Response is monitored by repeating the blood tests and liver biopsy.


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