Summaries for Patients |

Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement FREE

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The full report is titled “Screening for Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement.” It is in the 3 September 2013 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 159, pages 349-357). The author is V.A. Moyer, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

This article was published at www.annals.org on 25 June 2013.

Summaries for Patients are a service provided by Annals to help patients better understand the complicated and often mystifying language of modern medicine.

Summaries for Patients are presented for informational purposes only. These summaries are not a substitute for advice from your own medical provider. If you have questions about this material, or need medical advice about your own health or situation, please contact your physician. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the American College of Physicians.

Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(5):I-32. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-5-201309030-00677
Text Size: A A A

Who developed these guidelines?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) developed these recommendations. The USPSTF is a group of health experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventive health care.

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is common in the United States. Infection is transmitted by exposure to the blood of someone with HCV infection. The most important risk factor for infection is injection drug use. Infection might also occur through unprotected sex, exposure to donated blood products, or accidental exposure in health care settings. Before the early 1990s, the virus was sometimes transmitted during blood transfusions. Since then, screening of donated blood has made this type of transmission rare.

New HCV infection causes liver inflammation that can resolve without treatment. However, infection can remain active throughout a person's life and can lead to liver problems. Treatment with drugs to fight HCV reduces the development of severe liver disease and death. Many people with chronic HCV infection have no symptoms until they have severe liver damage. Testing people with no symptoms of HCV (screening) may identify those who would benefit from treatment.

In 2004, the USPSTF recommended against testing for HCV infection in patients without risk factors and no symptoms of liver disease. It did not make a recommendation for or against screening patients with risk factors. The USPSTF wanted to update these recommendations on the basis of new studies that have become available since 2004.

How did the USPSTF develop these recommendations?

The USPSTF reviewed published research related to the benefits and harms of screening for HCV infection in adults without known liver disease.

What did the authors find?

In 2004, the USPSTF found that available tests accurately identify people with HCV infection. The USPSTF found no studies that directly prove that screening for HCV infection in people with no known liver disease or symptoms leads to better outcomes for patients. However, some studies show that current treatments for HCV improve patient outcomes. Few studies looked at the harms of screening, but potential harms include anxiety as well as the adverse effects, inconvenience, and costs of treatment if HCV infection is found. People born between 1945 and 1965 are more likely to have HCV infection than people born during other years. This could be because they were exposed to blood transfusion before 1992 or have other unknown risk factors common in people born during those years.

What does the USPSTF recommend that patients and doctors do?

The USPSTF recommends HCV screening for patients at high risk for HCV infection but did not find enough information to recommend a specific screening frequency.

The USPSTF also recommends offering 1-time screening for HCV infection to all patients born between 1945 and 1965.

What are the cautions related to these recommendations?

These screening recommendations do not apply to people who have signs or symptoms of liver disease. These people should be tested to determine whether HCV infection is the cause.





Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Submit a Comment/Letter
Submit a Comment/Letter

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.


Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Related Articles
Journal Club
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
The end of the hepatitis C burden: Really? Hepatology Published online Aug 3, 2016;
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.