HCV Infection No Barrier to Liver Donation

With the advent of direct acting antivirals for hepatitis C, having the virus is no barrier to becoming a liver donor. A study showed that because of the drugs, HCV positive patients who get HCV positive livers do just fine.

Livers for transplant are chronically in short supply. In retrospective analysis presented today at the International Liver Congress in Barcelona, a team from Falls Church, VA said patients with hepatitis C virus in need of a transplant can successfully be transplanted with a liver from an HCV positive donor.

The practice of HCV-to-HCV transplants has been growing in the US, tripling from 2.9% of transplants to 9.4% as of 2013.

But there are still over 8,500 people in Europe and over 15,000 people in the US currently waiting for a liver.

A team led by Zobair Younossi, MD, MPH, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church said patients in the HCV to HCV transplant cohort did as well on medium- to long-term outcomes as people who received healthy livers.

“As highly effective treatments for HC are available for transplanted patients, the future of these patients is bright,” Younossi said.

In the study, researchers looked at 33,668 people in the US who received a liver and found 5.7% had been given a liver from an HCV positive donor.

“The study showed that the HCV status of the liver had no effect on the amount of time to post-transplant death,” he said.