- 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, Redwood City, CA and Navy Education and Training Command.
- 2Department of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA.
- 3Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto CA.
Background: In 2012, we reported on the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Veterans Affairs (VA) patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty (TJA) at our center. In this patient population, 8.4% were antibody positive and 4.5% were viremic with HCV. In 2014, the first all-oral direct-acting antiviral treatment for hepatitis C became available. The Department of Veterans Affairs then underwent an aggressive program to eradicate hepatitis C from the veteran population. The purpose of this report is to provide updated information on the prevalence of HCV viremia among patients undergoing primary TJA at the same center.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all patients undergoing primary TJA at a single VA medical center in 2019. Anti-HCV antibody and HCV viremia prevalence were calculated. Comparisons were made to data from a previously reported cohort of patients who had undergone TJA at the same center from 2007 to 2009.
Results: Thirty-three (11.6%) of 285 patients screened preoperatively were positive for the hepatitis C antibody. Only one of the 33 anti-HCV-positive patients was viremic at the time of screening for an overall viremic prevalence of 0.4%. We found no statistically significant difference in the birth year, or anti-HCV antibody-positive rate from the prior cohort, but the prevalence of HCV viremia decreased significantly.
Conclusion: Because direct-acting antiviral HCV treatment has become available, HCV viremia among VA patients undergoing TJA has been reduced from 4.5% to 0.4%. Surgeons are still advised to minimize the risk of sharps injury.