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Liver transplantation for HCV cirrhosis; cautious optimism after 10 years of experience

Marek Pacholczyk, Beata Łągiewska, Wojciech Lisik, Olga Tronina, Dariusz Wasiak, Tomasz Cieciura, Andrzej Chmura

Ann Transplant 2012; 17(4): 5-10

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.883688

Background:    Currently, HCV (hepatitis C virus) cirrhosis is one of the most common indications for liver transplantation (LTx) in Europe and North America among adults. Very early after LTx, histological examinations of liver biopsies in a group of HCV-positive recipients show important differences compared to other indications for transplantation.
    Material/Methods:    We described results of 121 primary LTx for HCV cirrhosis. HCV-RNA PCR was positive in 94% of primary graft recipients prior to LTx. Co-existing HCC was diagnosed in 20.66% of recipients.
    Results:    One-year, 5-year, and 10-year survivals in the HCV-positive recipient group were 87.6%, 85.9%, and 84.3%, respectively. Symptomatic recurrent hepatitis was diagnosed in 58/121 (47.54%) recipients, and 41.3% presented with recurrence within the first 6 months. None of the PCR-negative recipients developed recurrent hepatitis prior to LTx. The rescue therapy for recurrent HCV hepatitis consist of Interferon and Ribavirin; the sustained virologic response (SVR) was obtained in 50% and 41% of recipients at 24 and 48 weeks, respectively, after treatment cessation.
    Conclusions:    Despite almost universal recurrence of HCV after LTx, results of transplantation are relatively good. Modification of immunosuppression, younger organ selection, and avoiding steroid pulses for rejection improve the results. Inclusion of combination therapy with interferon and Ribavirin allows for more than 40% SVR.

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