Background The Netherlands has a low hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence, estimated at 0.16%. Previous studies have shown that up to 30% of the diagnosed HCV population in the Netherlands has been lost to follow-up (LTFU). Retrieval of these patients could halt progression of liver disease in infected patients, reduce the number of infected individuals and limit HCV transmission. Several regional Dutch retrieval projects have already been executed, which demonstrated that retrieval is feasible. Therefore, we initiated a nationwide retrieval project, aiming to achieve microelimination in previously diagnosed but LTFU patients with chronic HCV through retrieval. Methods Laboratory records will be used to identify possible patients with chronic hepatitis C, defined as either a positive most recent HCV RNA or positive HCV antibodies without known RNA result. Reviewing patient records and obtaining current contact information from municipality databases will identify LTFU patients who are eligible for retrieval. These patients will be invited for outpatient clinic care. The primary outcome of the study is the total number of LTFU patients who have been successfully linked to care. Discussion Hepatitis C ELimination In the NEtherlands (CELINE) is within the remit of WHO elimination targets and the Dutch National Hepatitis Plan. The methodology of CELINE is based on previously conducted regional retrieval projects and is designed to overcome some of their limitations. After ethical approval was obtained in 2018, the first centre initiated retrieval in 2018 and the project is expected to finish in 2021. Trial registration number NCT04208035.

antiviral therapy, HCV, health service research, hepatitis C, infectious disease,
BMJ Open Gastroenterology
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Isfordink, C.J. (Cas J), Brakenhoff, S.M. (Sylvia M), Van Dijk, M. (Marleen), van der Valk, M, de Knegt, R.J, Arends, J.E, & Drenth, J.P.H. (2020). Hepatitis C elimination in the Netherlands (CELINE): Study protocol for nationwide retrieval of lost to follow-up patients with chronic hepatitis C. BMJ Open Gastroenterology, 7(1). doi:10.1136/bmjgast-2020-000396