Is it safe to use a liver graft from a chagas disease–seropositive donor in a human immunodeficiency virus–positive recipient? A case report addressing a novel challenge in liver transplantation



This is the first report presenting a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive patient with fulminant hepatic failure receiving a liver graft from a Chagas disease–seropositive deceased donor. We describe the history of a 38-year-old HIV-positive female patient who developed fulminant hepatic failure of an autoimmune etiology with rapid deterioration of her clinical status and secondary multiorgan failure and, therefore, needed emergency liver transplantation (LT) as a lifesaving procedure. Because of the scarcity of organs and the high mortality rate for emergency status patients on the LT waiting list, we decided to accept a Chagas disease–seropositive deceased donor liver graft for this immunocompromised Chagas disease–seronegative patient. The recipient had a rapid postoperative recovery and was discharged on postoperative day 9 without prophylactic treatment for Chagas disease. Fifteen months after LT, she was still alive and had never experienced seroconversion on periodic screening tests for Chagas detection. Although there is an inherent risk of acute Chagas disease developing in seronegative recipients, our report suggests that these infected organs can be safely used as a lifesaving strategy for HIV patients with a high need for LT. Liver Transpl, 2012. © 2012 AASLD.