New antivirals that can cure hepatitis C infection have changed more than patients' prognoses. MD Magazine interviewed a liver transplant specialist, a transplant recipient, a patient cured by the new antivirals, and their physicians.
With the introduction of new medications and other treatments the field of liver transplantation has changed dramatically in a short period of time. However, the need for donors still far outpaces the number of patients awaiting the life saving surgery.
Andrej Holowchak had never had any liver issues until just after his 40th birthday. From there what started as a simple illness became an excruciating wait for a new liver before he received the transplant he so badly needed.
Between patients with hepatitis C and those with fatty liver disease, Kenneth Rothstein, MD, has seen the full spectrum of what can happen to a person's liver and also how treatment and surgery can help return them to a high quality of life. Finding that balance is something he said he is very careful to try and attain.
Patients with hepatitis C can have the condition for years and not know they have a problem. For those that are diagnosed treatment in the past could last for years or decades. Thanks to new medications many are getting a cure they could not have originally conceived of.
No matter what field they are in doctors can wait their entire career to be able to bring new and better treatments to their patients. For Santiago Munoz, MD, that wait has been rewarded in just the past few years as he has helped cure many of his patients diagnosed with hepatitis C.