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Hepatology. 2017 Mar;65(3):804-812. doi: 10.1002/hep.28923. Epub 2016 Dec 24.

Reduction in liver transplant wait-listing in the era of direct-acting antiviral therapy.

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Departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA.
Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.


Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, recently approved for patients with decompensated cirrhosis (DC) secondary to hepatitis C virus (HCV), is associated with improved hepatic function. We analyzed trends in liver transplant (LT) wait-listing (WL) to explore potential impact of effective medical therapy on WL registration. This is a cohort study using the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database from 2003 to 2015. A total of 47,591 adults wait-listed for LT from HCV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) were identified. LT indication was defined as DC if the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) at WL was ≥15 or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Era of listing was divided into interferon (IFN; 2003-2010), protease inhibitor (PI; 2011-2013), and direct-acting antiviral (DAA; 2014-2015). Annual standardized incidence rates of WL were analyzed using Poisson regression. Adjusted incidences of LT WL for DC in HCV patients decreased by 5% in the PI era (P = 0.004) and 32% in the DAA era (P < 0.001) compared to the IFN era. Listing for DC in HBV also decreased in the PI (-17%; P = 0.002) and DAA eras (-24%; P < 0.001). Conversely, WL for DC in NASH increased by 41% in the PI era (P < 0.001) and 81% in the DAA era (P < 0.001). WL for HCC in both the HCV and NASH populations increased in both the PI and DAA eras (P < 0.001 for all) whereas HCC WL in HBV remained stable (P > 0.05 for all).


The rate of LT WL for HCV complicated by DC has decreased by over 30% in the era of DAA therapy. Further reductions in WL are anticipated with increased testing, linkage to care, and access to DAA therapy. (Hepatology 2017;65:804-812).

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