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Viral Hepatitis Reviews

Management of the asymptomatic HCV Carrier with Normal ALT Levels

Patrick Marcellin, Stéphane Levy, Jean-Pierre Benhamou, Serge Erlinger

A significant proportion of anti-HCV-positive subjects have normal serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Clinical characteristics of these subjects are not different from those of anti-HCV-positive patients with mildly increased ALT levels. About 60% of them have detectable serum HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Histological studies showed a normal liver, or non-specific changes, in 27%, chronic persistent hepatitis in 54%, and chronic active hepatitis in 19%. The long-term outcome of these patients is unknown but most of them have a very mild disease with a probable good prognosis. A liver biopsy is unnecessary and there is no evidence so far that alpha interferon therapy is beneficial.

p 277-283 Volume 2 Number 4, December 1996

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