Objective: To determine the frequency of Rheumatoid Factor (RF) in patients with Hepatitis C infection (HCV) associated polyarthropathy at Combined Military Hospital Quetta.
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Department of Medicine, Combined Military Hospital Quetta, from 1st Oct 2012 to 31st Mar 2013.
Material and Methods: Two hundred and seven patients having confirmed Hepatitis C infection (positive anti HCV antibodies and positive HCV RNA by Qualitative PCR) with polyarthropathy were included in this study. These patients were screened for RF by immunonochromatography based RF Latex assay kit.
Results: Out of 207 patients, 138 (66.67%) were males and 69 (33.33%) were females. The age among all subjects ranged from 21–55 years and mean age of all subjects was 44.29 ± 4.61 years, the youngest patient was 21 years old and eldest was 55 years old. Most of the patients 97 (47%) were in the age group of 36-45 years. RF was positive in 88 (42.51%) patients and it was negative in 119 (57.49%) patients suffering from hepatitis C infection associated polyarthropathy. The frequency of RF in female patients was 66 (48%) and in male patients was 22 (32%) and it was significantly (p-value=0.0367) greater in female patients as compared to male patients.
Conclusion: The detection of Rheumatoid Factor (RF) is of little utility as a diagnostic tool for concurrent RA in patients of chronic HCV infection because a high percentage of them were having serum RF reactivity.
Keywords : Arthropathy, Hepatitis C, Rheumatoid factor.