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Hepatitis C-positive livers transplanted in HCV-infected patients work well.

Hepatitis C (HCV)-positive livers function as effectively as healthy livers in individuals already infected with the virus, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, PA.

HCV is the leading cause of liver transplantation in the US, accounting for about half of all such procedures performed each year. An estimated 4 million Americans are infected with HCV, approximately 30% of whom will progress to liver failure necessitating a transplant. HCV-infected livers, "which are routinely discarded as unfit for use, could provide a lifesaving option for HCV- infected liver transplant candidates" when uninfected livers are not available, wrote lead investigator Hugo Vargas and colleagues in the July issue of Gastroenterology.

Vargas and his team compared 23 HCV-infected patients given HCV-infected livers with 169 HCV-infected patients who received healthy livers. Both the 1-year and 5-year survival rates were comparable between the two groups, they found. In fact, a subset of individuals given HCV-infected livers remained disease-free, meaning they had no significant liver disease, for significantly longer than the rest of the infected liver recipients and even the healthy liver recipients. This group of patients had received donated livers infected with a different strain of HCV than the strain they carried. And when the donor strain prevailed over the patient's strain, the disease-free interval was extended.

"The longer disease-free survival among patients adopting the donor strain probably means that a more benign strain takes over," said co-author Tomasz Laskus, MD. "The virus didn't cause significant disease in the donor and, if it becomes predominant in the recipient, we see that is still does not cause significant disease."
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Comment:Hepatitis C-positive livers transplanted in HCV-infected patients work well.
Publication:Transplant News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 16, 1999
Words:265
Previous Article:Bacterial decontamination reduces GVHD in patients receiving BMTs, study finds.
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