Excluding acute hepatic failure caused by drugs, the etiology of fulminant hepatitis (FH) remains unknown in many patients. There are conflicting data about a possible pathogenic role for the hepatitis G virus (HGV) in patients with cryptogenic fulminant hepatitis (non-A-E FH). We investigated the presence of circulating HGV in 36 patients with well- documented non-A-E fulminant and 5 patients with subfulminant hepatitis from 3 geographic locations in the United States. Serum HGV RNA was determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction using primers from the NS5 region of the HGV genome. HGV RNA was also measured before and after liver transplantation in 5 patients and at different time points in 7 patients. Serum samples were recoded and reanalyzed for HGV RNA using different primer sets to assess the validity of the HGV RNA assay. HGV was present in serum of 14 of the 36 patients (38.8%) with non-A-E fulminant hepatitis. Twenty percent of patients from the Northeast, 11% of the patients from the Southeast, and 50% from the Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States had circulating HGV RNA. The use of therapeutic blood products was significantly associated with the presence of serum HGV RNA (P <.02). Retesting for HGV RNA with different primers was positive in all but 1 case. HGV RNA is not causally related to non-A-E fulminant hepatitis. The finding of HGV RNA in serum from these patients is likely related to the administration of blood product transfusion after the onset of fulminant hepatitis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Aug 15 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas