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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2018 Sep-Oct;29(5):1092-1099. doi: 10.4103/1319-2442.243964.

The long-term impact of hepatitis C infection in kidney transplantation in the pre-direct acting antiviral era.

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Department of Pediatric Nephrology, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplant Service, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, Australia.
Department of Hepatology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.
Department of Clinical Virology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.
Department of Nephrology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in kidney transplantation is an important issue with effects on patient and graft survival. The current standard of care involves using oral Direct Acting Antiviral drugs. Till recently, pre-transplant treatment with interferon was the only option for treatment. We studied 677 consecutive kidney transplant recipients with HCV infection. 5.2% patients had evidence of HCV infection. 2.0% were newly detected to have HCV infection after transplant (de novo HCV group). Nearly 28.6% had negative antibody tests but positive Nucleic Acid Test at the time of diagnosis. Eighty-five percent of pre-transplant HCV-positive patients were treated with interferon-based regimens. Early virologic response was seen in 66.6%. End of treatment response was achieved by 94.1%. Sustained virologic response was seen in 81.2%. Overall, patient and graft survival were not different between HCV and control groups (log-rank P = 0.154). Comparing HCV and control groups, there was a tendency toward increased fungal (11.4% vs. 5.6%, P = 0.144) and CMV infections (25.7% vs. 17.1%, P = 0.191) in the HCV group, though it did not reach statistical significance. Eighty-percent of the interferon-treated patients suffered side effects. On comparing, the pre-transplant HCV-positive group (85% treated) with the de novo HCV group (none treated), the de novo group had significantly reduced patient survival (P = 0.020) and NODAT (35.7 vs 4.8%, P = 0.028), and a tendency toward higher CMV infections (35.7% vs 19%, P = 0.432). In addition, death and hepatic complications (decompensated liver disease, fibrosing cholestatic hepatitis) occurred only in de novo HCV group. These results highlight the need for continued post-transplant treatment of HCV positive patients. The newer anti-HCV drugs are expected to fulfill this felt-need in kidney transplantation but long-term results are awaited. This study can serve as a benchmark for future studies to compare the long-term effect of Direct Acting Antiviral drugs.

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