Anemia in liver transplant recipients undergoing antiviral treatment for recurrent hepatitis C



Adherence to antiviral therapy is essential to achieve sustained virological responses in patients treated for hepatitis C. An important limitation to use of appropriate doses of ribavirin is development of anemia. The aim of this study is to identify risk factors associated with anemia in liver transplant recipients undergoing treatment for recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV). Retrospective analysis was performed on 115 adult liver transplantation (LT) recipients who received antiviral treatment. Anemia was defined as hemoglobin of <10 gm/dL or the use of erythropoietin replacement therapy. Variables found to be significant in univariate analysis were further studied in multivariate analysis. The mean (± standard deviation [SD]) age of our cohort was 52.1 (± 8.8) yr. Anemia developed in 44 patients (38.3%). Mean (± SD) onset of anemia was 8.9 (± 6.8) weeks after initiation of antiviral therapy. A total of 30 patients (26%) required erythropoietin replacement, at a mean (± SD) of 7.9 (± 6.0) weeks after start of antiviral treatment. A total of 27 patients (24%) required ribavirin dose reduction, at a mean (± SD) time to dose reduction of 8.1 (± 6.3) weeks. In univariate analysis, body mass index (BMI) (P < 0.01), mycophenolate mofetil use (P = 0.05), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (P = 0.02), and age (P = 0.02) were statistically significant. In conclusion, in multivariate analysis, BMI (P < 0.01) and age (P = 0.02) were found to be independent predictors of anemia. Anemia is common in liver transplant recipients treated for recurrent HCV. Special vigilance is required for older patients and patients with a low BMI. Liver Transpt 13:1032–1038, 2007. © 2007 AASLD.