Natural history of post-liver transplantation hepatitis C: A review of factors that may influence its course

Juan F Gallegos-Orozco, Amir Yosephy, Brie Noble, Bashar A Aqel, Thomas J Byrne, Elizabeth J Carey, David D Douglas, David Mulligan, Adyr Moss, Giovanni de Petris, James W Williams, Jorge Rakela, Hugo E Vargas
Liver Transplantation 2009, 15 (12): 1872-81
Our aim was to assess long-term survival in patients transplanted for HCV-related end-stage liver disease (ESLD) and evaluate potentially modifiable predictors of survival. We performed a retrospective analysis of adult liver transplants (LT) at our institution for HCV-related ESLD since the program's inception. Pertinent demographic, clinical, and biochemical information was retrieved from electronic medical records and histological data from 990 per-protocol liver biopsies were collected. Three hundred eighty LT were performed at our institution during the study period, 206 patients were transplanted for HCV-related ESLD; 6 died within 30 days of transplantation and were not included. The remaining 200 recipients (DDLT 168 LDLT 32) constituted the evaluable population. The demographics were as follows: 150 males, median age 53 years; median donor age 39 years; hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in 26%. Overall 1-, 5-, and 7-year survival: 95%, 81%, and 79%; median survival 43 months, mortality 15%. Significant HCV recurrence (HAI >or=6 and/or fibrosis >or=2) was present in 49%, "early recurrence" (within 1 year of LT) in 30.5% and biopsy-proven acute rejection was present in 27%. Factors with a significant negative impact on patient survival included: fibrosis stage >or=2 at 12-month biopsy, advanced donor age, history of HCC and early acute rejection. Survival was similar regardless of the donor type (DDLT vs. LDLT). Early and aggressive HCV recurrence has a very heavy toll on patient survival. Prompt recognition and treatment of "rapid fibrosers" may impart benefit. As has been described before, avoidance of rejection and selection of young donors for HCV-positive recipients will also improve survival in this population. On the basis of our findings, LDLT is a good option for HCV-positive recipients.

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