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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1998 Sep;10(9):771-6.

Liver transplantation in hepatitis C. A Spanish multi-centre experience.

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Hospital Universitario La Fe, Valencia, Spain.



The purpose of this retrospective survey was to determine the prevalence and outcome of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in cirrhotic patients undergoing liver transplantation (OLT) in Spain in 1992.


Post-OLT HCV infection was defined by anti-HCV (second-generation ELISA) and/or PCR. Patients were divided into groups A (HCV-positive pre-OLT: n = 124, 46%) and B (HCV-negative pre-OLT: n = 145, 54%).


HCV infection was more prevalent in patients originally diagnosed as having non-A non-B cirrhosis (97%) and cryptogenic cirrhosis (79%) than in patients with cholestatic or metabolic diseases. Group A patients were older (53.3+/-7.9 versus 47.6+/-9.7; P< 0.05) and had a higher prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma (22% versus 4%, P< 0.05). Post-OLT HCV infection was 99% in group A versus 4% in group B (P< 0.05). Histological hepatitis developed in 39% (66% in group A versus 14% in group B, P< 0.05) with similar follow-up. Chronic rejection occurred in 6% (3% in group A versus 8.5% in group B, P= 0.07). Retransplantation rate (overall 8%) and two-year patient survival did not differ between groups (79% versus 72%). Graft survival was higher in group A (74% versus 65% at 2 years, P= 0.04).


HCV-cirrhosis represented the most frequent indication for OLT in Spain in 1992. While HCV recurrence was universal, de novo acquisition was rare. HCV accounted for most post-OLT hepatitis (87%), but was not associated with chronic rejection, nor with a higher retransplantation rate. Patient survival was not different in HCV patients compared to a control group after a follow-up of 2-3 years. Therefore, at present, HCV-cirrhosis is an acceptable indication for OLT.

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