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Keywords:

  • health-related quality of life;
  • hepatitis C;
  • hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation;
  • orthotopic liver transplantation

Abstract

Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains the definitive treatment for hepatitis C (HCV). Although HCV is the number one indication for OLT in the USA, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores are consistently lower for HCV patients when compared with all OLT indications. HCV is unique in that 95% of transplanted patients experience virological recurrence of HCV hepatitis. Despite few physical manifestations of disease at the time of HCV recurrence, patients report an impaired quality of life and functional status compared with OLT recipients without recurrence. Studies show that patient knowledge of the diagnosis of recurrent HCV alone can negatively impact HRQOL. This suggests that patients perceive themselves as unwell and have significant changes in their mental and physical health despite the absence of disease-related complications. Multiple studies show that patients with HCV recurrence report significantly higher scores for depression, anxiety and psychological distress. However, only a limited number of studies have investigated the influence of gender, HCV genotype, or HCV antiviral treatment on the HRQOL of OLT recipients with HCV recurrence. This review article describes what is currently known about the impact of recurrent HCV on HRQOL specifically after OLT. Understanding modifiable factors on HRQOL after HCV recurrence in OLT patients can greatly aid in tailoring multidimensional interventions to improve patient HRQOL.