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Semin Liver Dis. 2000;20(2):201-9.

Hepatitis C after liver transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


Hepatitis C is the most common cause of end-stage liver disease leading to liver transplant. The disease can recur after transplant, resulting in clinical hepatitis in up to 75% of patients and severe disease in approximately 7%. Treatment of rejection with steroid boluses and treatment of steroid-resistant rejection with OKT3 have both been shown to increase the incidence of recurrent hepatitis C. The use of OKT3 for steroid-resistant rejection is reportedly associated with more severe recurrence. The calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus and cyclosporine have not been conclusively associated with different rates or severity of recurrence. Viral levels rise 10- to 15-fold after transplant and appear to be associated with the use of immunosuppression. Studies suggest that high viral levels, either pretransplant or early after transplant, may be associated with severe recurrent disease. Although the role of genotype is still unclear, genotype 1b is known to be associated with a poorer prognosis in nontransplanted patients and a lesser response to treatment than other genotypes. Furthermore, some reports suggest that after transplant, recurrent disease may progress more rapidly in patients with genotype 1. Treatment options after recurrence remain poor. Neither interferon nor ribavirin alone provides any true benefit. Combination therapy appears to have a better short-term outcome but may be poorly tolerated, and long-term benefits are unknown. Prophylaxis with combination therapy may be a better option but requires further study. Finally, retransplantation for recurrent hepatitis C is complicated not by rapid recurrence of disease in the new allograft but by high perioperative mortality that may be predicted by the presence of renal failure or sepsis preretransplant.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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