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P120: Rapid hepatitis C virus screening and diagnostic testing for high-risk patients in an urban emergency department: a pilot project

  • K. Ragan (a1), A. Pandya (a1), N. Collins (a1), M. Swain (a1) and T. Holotnak (a1)...

Abstract

Introduction: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection represents a significant public health problem in Canada and it is estimated that nearly half of individuals with chronic hepatitis C infection are unaware of their disease status. Previous studies of urban emergency department (ED) based screening programs have shown a prevalence ranging from 7.3 to 26% in high risk patients presenting to the ED . The advent of new treatment regimens with high rates of virologic cure strengthens the case for identifying the optimal setting for screening and testing individuals who may benefit from treatment. The proposed pilot project of ED-based screening for hepatitis C virus will aim to determine the prevalence of undiagnosed HCV infection and to link patients with chronic HCV infection to appropriate specialized follow-up care. Methods: We will be conducting a prospective cohort study of patients presenting to an urban emergency department between March and May 2018. Patients will be screened using high risk criteria for HCV infection as per national guidelines. Eligible patients will be offered and consented for a rapid point of care antibody test. Individuals with a positive antibody screen will have confirmatory testing and be linked to hepatology follow-up. The primary outcome will be the prevalence of hepatitis C virus among tested patients. Secondary outcomes will include the proportion of high risk patients without a primary care MD or access to alternate care settings where screening may occur, as well as the proportion of HCV-positive patients who are successfully linked to care. Results: We expect to screen approximately 2000 participants during the study period leading to an estimated 400 rapid antibody tests. Based on published results from other centres, we estimate that a significant proportion of screened patients will test positive for chronic HCV infection ( > 10%). Descriptive analyses will be performed for all variables using proportions with 95% confidence intervals. Conclusion: To our knowledge, no emergency department in Canada has undertaken protocoled HCV screening using rapid antibody testing in the ED. Results will inform the future development of integrated ED-based screening programs in novel settings more likely to be accessed by the at-risk population. Linking patients with chronic HCV infection to appropriate care will decrease the number of individuals developing HCV-related cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, thereby improving patient outcomes and reducing the future impact on our health care system.

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P120: Rapid hepatitis C virus screening and diagnostic testing for high-risk patients in an urban emergency department: a pilot project

  • K. Ragan (a1), A. Pandya (a1), N. Collins (a1), M. Swain (a1) and T. Holotnak (a1)...

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