Post–liver transplant cholestatic hepatitis C: A systematic review of clinical and pathological findings and application of consensus criteria



Liver transplantation is currently the only definitive modality for the treatment of end-stage liver disease due to chronic hepatitis C. However, recurrent hepatitis C after liver transplantation is nearly universal. Cirrhosis may develop in 20% of recipients within 5 years, and recurrent hepatitis C may lead to graft failure, retransplantation, and even death. A subset of recipients may develop post–liver transplant cholestatic hepatitis C (PLTCHC), which is characterized by cholestasis, hepatocyte ballooning, and rapid progression to graft failure. We present a systematic review of PLTCHC that is focused on hepatitis C–infected liver transplant recipients. We compare the pathological definitions of PLTCHC, clinical factors, management strategies, and outcomes reported in studies. We found differences among studies in the types of histological criteria used to diagnose PLTCHC during liver biopsy and in the types of clinical information provided. Three of the 12 studies published after 2003 used the definition of PLTCHC published by the first International Liver Transplantation Society expert panel consensus conference on liver transplantation and hepatitis C. We propose that studies on PLTCHC use the consensus criteria for diagnosis and suggest clinical information that should be provided in future studies with the goal of improving our understanding and management of this deadly disease. Liver Transpl 16:1228-1235, 2010. © 2010 AASLD.