Treatment of hepatitis C virus infection in the allograft



Key points

1. Recurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the graft is associated with a reduced quality of life and worse graft survival.

2. Pretransplantation, the severity of HCV recurrence may be reduced by reducing the pretransplantation load, by avoiding the use of organs from older donors, and by reducing the ischemic times. The effect of split livers on recurrence rates is uncertain.

3. The optimal immunosuppression regime has not been established but a heavy induction regime and treatment for acute rejection are associated with more viral replication and more graft damage.

4. Presently, there is no convincing evidence for preemptive treatment of HCV.

5. There are many studies on the effect of interferon with and without ribavirin for the treatment of HCV hepatitis. However, few are prospective, randomized, and controlled.

6. The current best treatment is with pegylated interferon and ribavirin; the dose and duration of treatment need to be established. Side-effects of treatment are common and reduction/withdrawal is frequent, but the regime is cost-effective.

7. The role of newer treatments remains to be established.