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J Hepatol. 2003 Sep;39(3):389-96.

Antiviral therapy of patients with decompensated cirrhosis to prevent recurrence of hepatitis C after liver transplantation.

Author information

  • 1Liver Unit, Hospital Clínic, Institut de Malalties Digestives, IDIBAPS, Escala 7, 3 pis., Villarroel 170, Barcelona 08036, Spain. xforns@clinic.ub.es

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

After liver transplantation (LT) infection of the graft with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is almost universal and chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis develop in a significant proportion of patients. One of the possible strategies to prevent HCV infection recurrence is to eradicate HCV before LT.

METHODS:

We evaluated the efficacy and safety of antiviral therapy to prevent HCV recurrence in 30 HCV-cirrhotic patients awaiting LT. At the time of inclusion 15 patients were Child-Pugh A and 15 Child-Pugh B/C. The infecting genotype was 1b in 25 patients. Treatment with interferon alpha-2b 3 MU/day and ribavirin 800 mg/day was initiated when the expected time for LT was less than 4 months and continued until LT. The median duration of treatment was 12 weeks.

RESULTS:

Nine patients (30%) achieved a virological response and 21 did not respond to therapy. In nine (43%) of the 21 non-responders viral load decreased > or =2 log10 during treatment. A viral load decrease > or = 2 log10 at week 4 of treatment was the strongest predictor of virological response. All nine virological responders have already undergone LT; six patients remain free of infection after a median follow-up of 46 weeks and HCV infection recurred in three patients after LT. In one of these patients HCV-RNA was still detectable in the explanted liver. Side effects were frequent and dose reduction was necessary in 19 (63%) of the 30 patients; no patient died while on therapy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our data support the utilization of antiviral therapy in HCV-infected patients awaiting LT as one of the strategies to prevent hepatitis C recurrence after transplantation.

Comment in

PMID:
12927925
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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