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Transpl Int. 2009 Dec;22(12):1117-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2009.00926.x. Epub 2009 Jul 27.

Transplantation in the patient with hepatitis C.

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1
Organización Nacional de Trasplantes, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most frequent cause of liver disease after renal transplantation. Its clinical course is irrelevant in the short term, except for rare cases of fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis. However, in the long run, HCV infection can lead to major liver complications. Because interferon (IFN) is generally contraindicated in renal transplant patients, the best approach is to treat patients on dialysis. Until more information with pegylated-IFN is available, the use of alpha-IFN monotherapy is recommended. Most of the patients with sustained virological response remain HCV RNA negative after transplantation. HCV-positive renal transplant patients have a higher risk for proteinuria, chronic rejection, infections and post-transplant diabetes (PTDM). Long-term patient- and graft-survival rates are lower in HCV-positive patients. Mortality is higher, mainly as a result of liver disease and infections. HCV can contribute to the development of certain neoplasias such as post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). HCV infection is also an independent risk factor for graft loss. PTDM, transplant glomerulopathy and HCV-related glomerulonephritis can contribute to graft failure. Despite this, transplantation is the best option for end-stage renal disease in HCV-positive patients. Several measures to minimize the consequences of HCV infection have been recommended. Adjustment of immunosuppression and careful follow up in the outpatient clinic for early detection of HCV-related complications are mandatory.

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