Management of hepatitis C virus infection in the setting of liver transplantation



Key Points

1. Posttransplantation recurrence of hepatitis C virus infection is a universal phenomenon with a highly variable natural history.

2. Approximately 10% to 25% of hepatitis C virus– infected recipients of liver allografts will develop cirrhosis within 5 years' after transplantation.

3. The 1-year actuarial risk of hepatic decompensation after recurrence of cirrhosis approximates 42%.

4. Some of the factors associated with aggressive recurrence include donor and recipient age, recent year of transplantation, recipient gender and race, the use of antithymocyte globulin, and high dose of corticosteroids.

5. Highly aggressive recurrent hepatitis C virus infection leading to cirrhosis fares poorly after retransplantation in the presence of hyperbilirubinemia and renal failure, with a 1-year survival of approximately 40%.

6. Elevated serum aminotransferases are a poor indicator or recurrent disease.

7. Current sustained virological response after combination pegylated alpha interferon and ribavirin treatment is approximately 25%.

8. There is no consensus on initiation time point, duration of treatment, or dosage. Given immunosuppression, at least 48 weeks of therapy is a reasonable approach.

9. Treatment for 48 weeks is cost effective. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for men aged 55 years is $29,100 per life-year saved.