Background: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) disease, which is commonly underdiagnosed, in addition to the well-known effects on the liver is also a risk factor for Cronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). It worsens the outcome at every stage of CKD; around 400.000 people worldwide die from HCV-related causes each year. The KDIGO 2018 Guidelines recommend that all patients be evaluated for renal disease when HCV is diagnosed and be screened for HCV when CKD is diagnosed, as the prevalence may be higher than in the general population. Effective screening is therefore necessary in order to establish early treatment. Aims of the study: We ran a systematic program of screening and management of HCV in nephropathic outpatients in order to improve Sustained Virological Response 12 weeks after the end of treatment (SVR 12) and renal functions such as GFR and proteinuria. Materials and methods: We considered outpatients not in dialysis and older than 18. The systematic, prospective observational study of HCV infection run over a period of 18 months. Results: Of 2798 nephropathic outpatients that came to our attention during this period, we identified 108 HCV-positive patients (prevalence: 3.85%). The test for HCV-RNA resulted positive in 78 patients and, after hepatological evaluation and informed consent to treatment, 51 of them underwent therapy with the new direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). 34 patients concluded the treatment during the 18-month period, all of them with 100% SVR 12. The average pre-treatment GFR was 40.5 ml/m’; after treatment resulted equal to 45 ml/m’ (p=0.01). The average value of pre-treatment proteinuria was 1.18 g/24 h; it was reduced to 0.79 g/24 (p=0.015). The remaining 17 patients were still under treatment/evaluation at the end of the 18 months. Conclusions: Treatment with the new DAAs has been confirmed safe and effective and is associated with an improvement of renal functions. Systematic screening of nephropathic patients may therefore contribute to achieving the WHO target of eliminating HCV by 2030.
Keywords: Hepatitis C Virus, HCV, cronic kidney disease, CKD outpatients