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J Hepatol. 1994 Oct;21(4):536-42.

Recurrence of hepatitis C following orthotopic liver transplantation: a polymerase chain reaction and histological study.

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  • 1Institute of Liver Studies, King's College School of Medicine & Dentistry, London, U.K.


Hepatitis C virus was sought by nested polymerase chain reaction in the preoperative biopsy or the explanted liver of 100 consecutive adult patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation. In those found to be positive preoperatively, polymerase chain reaction was performed on subsequent biopsies. Of the 12 patients in whom HCV-RNA was identified in the liver by polymerase chain reaction preoperatively, viral recurrence was documented in ten of the 11 with posttransplant liver tissues available for study. In the one exception, hepatitis C virus was undetectable in the liver graft despite repeated co-amplification of albumin mRNA as an internal control, which may indicate viral clearance. In eight of the ten positive cases, HCV-RNA was also detectable in serum postoperatively, while HCV-RNA was undetectable in serum in both the cases in whom HCV-RNA was undetectable in tissue and in the patient who declined post-transplant biopsy. Two of the 12 patients infected with hepatitis C virus preoperatively have died during the follow-up period from causes unrelated to hepatitis C virus infection. While biochemical liver function in seven of those remaining has been excellent, histological evidence of at least mild chronic active hepatitis has been present in all ten cases for whom long-term biopsies are available. Three cases have progressed to severe, symptomatic chronic active hepatitis within 2 years of transplantation. Recurrent hepatitis C is associated with progressive liver disease and appreciable morbidity in a significant proportion of patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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