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Keywords:

  • transplant;
  • hepatitis C;
  • HCV ;
  • antiviral treatment;
  • risk factors

Abstract

Introduction

Severity of recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in liver transplant recipients (LTR) is variable and the influence of different factors, including the administration of antiviral therapy in the long-term outcome is controversial.

Methods

We analyzed the outcome of a cohort of HCV-infected LTR who were transplanted in our institution. Patients were divided into 2 groups (severe and non-severe HCV disease) depending on the presence of a fibrosis score of F ≥2 in the Scheuer index and/or fibrosing cholestasic hepatitis (FCH) in a graft biopsy. Risk factors were studied using logistic regression analysis. Survival of patients was estimated using Kaplan–Meier plots. A total of 146 patients were followed for a mean of 58 months.

Results

Fifty-six (34%) patients developed severe HCV disease and showed shorter survival (P < 0.024). Donor age (odds ratio [OR]: 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02–1.06) and pre-transplant viral load (VL) >106 UI/mL (OR: 3.5; 95% CI: 1.42–10.61) were the only factors associated with severe HCV infection. Over-immunosuppression (OR: 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2–4.41) was specifically associated with the development of FCH. Overall, patient survival in recipients who received a full course of anti-HCV therapy was higher than in patients who did not complete antiviral therapy (P = 0.004) or received no treatment (P = 0.007). Patients with non-severe HCV infection have a higher probability of receiving a full course of antiviral therapy (P = 0.033).

Conclusion

In conclusion, donor age, pre-transplant VL, and over-immunosuppression were associated with the long-term development of severe HCV recurrence in liver grafts. Administration of a full course of antiviral therapy was associated with better survival.