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Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1995 Dec;9(4):943-64.

Hepatitis C infection in the transplant recipient.

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco, USA.


This article highlights the increasing role of HCV in the transplant setting. Its importance in the liver transplant setting is clear. It produces end-stage liver disease and represents a common indication for transplant referral. Recurrent infection is nearly universal posttransplant in those with viremia pretransplant. Acquired disease is uncommon. The natural history of posttransplant disease suggests there is no significant impact of graft or patient survival, at least in the short-term. Long-term follow-up is needed, as well as more detailed study of the factors contributing to posttransplant disease. Kidney transplant patients commonly are infected with HCV prior to transplantation. Acquisition of infection through infected donors also serves as a source of HCV infection. HCV infection after transplantation is associated with an increased risk of liver disease but has no significant effect on short-term patient survival. The issues of organ allocation from anti-HCV-positive donors are particularly relevant to this patient population because maintenance dialysis always is a treatment alternative to transplantation. Much less information is available on other transplant groups, such as heart, lung, and bone marrow transplant recipients. There are many unanswered questions, especially with respect to the natural history of disease after 5 to 10 years of infection. The pathogenesis of infection in the transplant setting is emerging slowly but requires further investigation. Both direct viral cytopathicity and host-mediated immunity appear to play a role in liver injury. An increased understanding of pathogenicity will lead to improved management of patients with HCV infection both pre- and posttransplant.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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