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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • hepatitis C virus;
  • liver transplantation;
  • quality of life

Post liver transplant recurrence of infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) occurs in approximately 50% of patients transplanted because of HCV-related liver disease. The aim of this study was to assess long-term quality of life, psychologic distress, and coping in patients with recurrent HCV after liver transplantation in comparison to patients transplanted for other etiologies of underlying liver disease. All liver transplant recipients transplanted at a University affiliated Veterans Affairs Medical Center who had greater than 6 months follow-up were sent a questionnaire investigating quality of life (assessed by Medical Outcomes study health survey SF-36), depression (assessed by Beck Depression Inventory), total mood disturbance (assessed by Profile of Mood States scale), coping (assessed by Billing and Moos Inventory of coping with illnesses), and employment status. Lower Beck Depression Inventory score (p=0.001), lower mood disturbance score (p=0.0001), overall satisfaction with present work (p=0.0001), and lesser use of avoidant coping (p=0.06) were predictors of better quality of life in long-term survivors of liver transplantation. At a mean follow-up of 4 yr after liver transplantation, patients with histopathologically diagnosed recurrent viral HCV hepatitis had significantly lower global quality of life score (mean score of 76.4 versus 86.2, p=0.011) and physical functioning score (mean score 20 versus 25, p=0.015), as compared to all other patients. In summary, quality of life and physical functioning were significantly impaired in liver transplant recipients with histopathologically diagnosed recurrent HCV hepatitis, as compared to those whose HCV hepatitis had not recurred or those transplanted for other reasons.