Recurrent Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality after liver transplantation for Hepatitis C virus-related end stage liver disease.
Although previous studies have shown a short-term effect of interferon-based treatment on fibrosis progression, it is unclear whether this translates to improved graft survival.
Dr Veldt and colleagues from the Netherlands evaluated whether treatment of recurrent Hepatitis C virus leads to an improved graft survival.
The cohort study included consecutive Hepatitis C virus patients who underwent liver transplantation between 1995 and 2005 in the Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
The research team involved 215 patients in the study.
During a median follow-up of 4 years, 77% of patients had biopsy-proven recurrent Hepatitis C virus infection confirmed by serum Hepatitis C virus RNA testing.
|77% had biopsy-proven recurrent Hepatitis C|
|American Journal Transplantation|
There were no differences in MELD-score, fibrosis stage or time towards Hepatitis C virus recurrence between treated and untreated patients at time of recurrence.
There was a trend for greater frequency of acute cellular rejection among untreated patients.
The incidence of graft failure was lower for patients treated within 6 months of recurrence compared to patients not treated within this time-period.
Time-dependent multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that treatment of recurrent Hepatitis C virus infection was significantly associated with a decreased risk of overall graft failure.
The research team found a decreased risk of graft failure due to recurrent Hepatitis C virus.
Dr Veldt’s team concluded, “Although a cause and effect relationship cannot be established, treatment of recurrent Hepatitis C virus infection after liver transplantation is associated with a reduced risk of graft failure.”