Hepatitis E virus in patients with acute severe liver injury

Claire Crossan, Kenneth J. Simpson, Darren G. Craig, Christopher Bellamy, Janice Davidson, Harry Dalton, Linda Scobie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to examine the incidence of hepatitis E (HepE) in individuals with acute liver injury severe enough to warrant treatment at a transplant unit. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging pathogen in developed countries causing severe illness, particularly in immunocompromised patients or those with underlying chronic liver disease. HepE infection is often under diagnosed, as clinicians can be reluctant to test patients who have not travelled to regions traditionally considered hyperendemic for HepE. There are few data regarding the significance of HEV in patients with very severe acute liver injury in developed countries. Eighty patients with acute severe liver injury attending the Scottish Liver Transplant unit were tested for HEV and anti-HEV IgG and IgM. Severe acute liver injury was defined as a sudden deterioration in liver function confirmed by abnormal liver function tests and coagulopathy or presence of hepatic encephalopathy. Eighty percent of these patients were diagnosed with paracetomol overdose. No patients had a history of chronic or decompensated chronic liver disease at time of sampling. IgG positive samples were quantified against the World Health Organization anti-HEV IgG standard. Samples were screened for HEV viral RNA by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-434
Number of pages9
Journalworld journal of hepatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • hepatitis E
  • liver disease
  • emerging pathogens

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