Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA Boston Medical Center, Section of Gastroenterology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA Department of Surgery, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA Department of Pathology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Summary: Recipients of haemodialysis for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have a higher prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection relative to the general US population. However, the natural course of HCV infection in patients with renal failure, including African Americans (AAs) and Caucasian Americans (CAs), is not well known. We compared the degree of liver inflammation and fibrosis in AA and CA patients with HCV infection, with and without ESRD. This was a cross-sectional study of 156 HCV patients with ESRD (130 AAs and 26 CAs) with a liver biopsy between 1992 and 2005. The control group consisted of 138 patients (50 AAs; 88 CAs) with HCV infections and a serum creatinine <1.5 mg/dL with a liver biopsy between 1995 and 1998. Specimens were graded for inflammation and fibrosis using Knodell histological activity index. Compared to patients without renal impairment, HCV patients with renal failure were older and more likely to be AA. Patients with renal impairment had lower mean serum transaminases, a higher mean serum alkaline phosphatase levels (all P < 0.0001) and less hepatic necro-inflammation (Knodell histological activity index -I, II and III; P < 0.05) and fibrosis (Knodell histological activity index -IV; P < 0.0001). There were no racial differences in serum liver chemistry and histology scores among patients with renal failure. In a multivariate analysis, younger age, ESRD, AA race and a lower serum alkaline phosphatase were associated with lower odds for advanced liver fibrosis. Thus, HCV patients with ESRD had a lower degree of hepatic inflammation and fibrosis compared to those without renal disease, independent of race.