Transplantation of hepatitis C-positive livers in hepatitis C-positive patients is equivalent to transplanting hepatitis C-negative livers.

Research paper by C E CE Marroquin, G G Marino, P C PC Kuo, J S JS Plotkin, V K VK Rustgi, A D AD Lu, E E Edwards, S S Taranto, L B LB Johnson

Indexed on: 12 Sep '01Published on: 12 Sep '01Published in: Liver Transplantation


A significant number of patients with end-stage liver disease secondary to hepatitis C die of disease-related complications. Liver transplantation offers the only effective alternative. Unfortunately, organ demand exceeds supply. Consequently, some transplant centers have used hepatitis C virus-positive (HCV(+)) donor livers for HCV(+) recipients. This study reviews the clinical outcome of a large series of HCV(+) recipients of HCV(+) liver allografts and compares their course with that of HCV(+) recipients of HCV-negative (HCV(-)) allografts. The United Network for Organ Sharing Scientific Registry was reviewed for the period from April 1, 1994, to June 30, 1997. All HCV(+) transplant recipients were analyzed. Two groups were identified: a group of HCV(+) recipients of HCV(+) donor livers (n = 96), and a group of HCV(+) recipients of HCV(-) donor livers (n = 2,827). A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the odds of graft failure and patient mortality, and unadjusted graft and patient survival were determined using the Kaplan-Meier method. There were no differences in demographic criteria between the groups. A greater percentage of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma received an HCV(+) allograft (8.3% v 3.1%; P =.01). Patient survival showed a significant difference for the HCV(+) group compared with the HCV(-) group (90% v 77%; P =.01). Blood type group A, group B, group O incompatibility was significant, with 4.2% incompatibility in the HCV(+) group and only 1.3% in the HCV(-) group (P =.04). Donor hepatitis C status does not impact on graft or patient survival after liver transplantation for HCV(+) recipients. Their survival was equivalent, if not better, compared with the control group. Using HCV(+) donor livers for transplantation in HCV(+) recipients safely and effectively expands the organ donor pool.