False-positive hepatitis C virus serology after placement of a ventricular assistance device

C. M. Durand, K. A. Marr, D. Ostrander, A. Subramanian, A. Valsamakis, A. Cox, D. Neofytos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have been associated with immune activation and sensitization. We observed several cases of false-positive (FP) hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody (Ab) tests in patients being evaluated for orthotopic heart transplant (OHT), prompting us to investigate this further. Methods: We reviewed all VAD and OHT cases at Johns Hopkins from 2005 to 2012. FP HCV serology was defined as an equivocal or low-positive HCV Ab, plus either (i) a negative recombinant immunoblot (RIBA) and/or HCV nucleic acid test (NAT), or (ii) an indeterminate RIBA and negative NAT. Results: In 53 patients with available HCV testing, nearly 40% of patients (21/53: 39.6%) developed FP HCV Ab tests after VAD placement: 4 patients had negative NAT, 12 had negative RIBA, and 5 had an indeterminate RIBA and negative NAT. All patients with indeterminate RIBA tests had isolated reactivity to the same HCV protein, c100p/5-1-1p (NS4b protein). In 3 of 4 VAD patients who had OHT and repeat HCV Ab testing after VAD removal, repeat HCV Ab was negative (699-947 days after OHT); in 1 case, FP HCV serology persisted (5 days after OHT). Thirteen patients had OHT alone and none developed a FP HCV Ab. Conclusions: FP HCV Ab results following VAD placement are very common. Reversal of FP serology in several patients after VAD removal is suggestive of a possible association with the VAD hardware. Clinicians should be aware of this phenomenon, as it could lead to delays in determining eligibility for OHT and increased costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-149
Number of pages4
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • False-positive hepatitis C virus serology
  • Left ventricular assist device
  • Orthotopic heart transplant
  • Panel reactive antibodies
  • Sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Transplantation

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