Background and Objectives: This article reviews the Canadian experience with general hepatitis C virus (HCV) lookback programmes. Materials and Methods: Comprehensive literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Medline, HealthSTAR and EMBASE. In addition, bibliographic searches were performed on all retrieved articles, and provinces were contacted to determine whether they had performed general HCV lookbacks. Results: Of the seven Canadian general HCV lookbacks identified, two focused specifically on the paediatric population. The proportion of transfused patients presumed to be alive varied from 48.9 to 97.5%. Between 55.3 and 99.1% of letters were successfully delivered. The proportion of patients tested for HCV and subsequently found to be HCV positive varied considerably (66.2-80.4% and 0.9-5.0%, respectively). Newly diagnosed patients represented 42-58% of cases identified. Conclusions: The Canadian general HCV lookback experience successfully identified previously undiagnosed HCV-positive patients, but the resources required to notify patients are high and the yield is relatively low. The effectiveness may be greatest in the paediatric population.
- Hepatitis C virus
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