1NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, NY. email@example.com.
The aging baby boomer generation will soon start using tremendous orthopedic surgical resouraces. This group has also been identified as a group at high risk for having undiagnosed hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We conducted a study to assess the prevalence of HCV among orthopedic surgery patients at our institution-using their demographic data to determine whether they represent a unique cohort at high risk for having undiagnosed HCV. We estimated that we operated on as many as 233 patients with undiagnosed HCV in 2011. A cost-effective, universal preoperative HCV screening program may reduce the risk for occupational exposure in orthopedic surgery and significantly benefit public health by bringing undiagnosed patients to treatment. A robust screening program requires several ethical considerations. By offering routine screening to patients, orthopedic surgeons have an opportunity to maintain intraoperative safety and improve the health of the public.