Rapidly progressive recurrent hepatitis C virus infection starting 9 days after liver transplantation



Early histological recurrence of hepatitis C after liver transplantation (LT) has a negative impact on patient and graft survival. We report a case of histological recurrence of HCV occurring in the second week after LT. A 75-year-old woman with chronic HCV and hepatocellular carcinoma underwent LT with an organ from a 75-year-old HCV-negative deceased donor. After an uneventful early postoperative period, an increase in the transaminases was observed, and on postoperative day 9 day, the alanine aminotransferase (ALT) was 673 IU/mL and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 300 IU/mL, with normal alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin. Analysis of liver biopsy samples showed diffuse necroinflammatory changes with acidophilic bodies and concomitant mild acute cellular rejection. Subsequently there was a further increase in the transaminases, and on postoperative day 13, the AST rose to 445 IU/mL and ALT to 992 IU/mL. Repeat biopsy was performed, and analysis of the samples revealed lymphocytic portal inflammation with lymphoid aggregates and mild interface hepatitis, parenchymal necrosis, activation of sinusoidal lining cells, and mild steatosis. The biopsy sample was characteristic for HCV recurrence. The HCV RNA level was 84,000,000 copies/mL, and markers for other viral causes were not present. The patient became jaundiced and her course progressively worsened. She died on day 87 after transplantation. To our knowledge, this is the earliest reported case of histological recurrence of HCV after LT. It illustrates the importance of older donor and recipient age in the same patient as cofactors for early HCV recurrence and poor outcome. Liver Transpl 13:913–917, 2007. © 2007 AASLD.