Hepatitis C-associated liver failure is the most common indication for liver transplantation. Histologic evidence of recurrence is apparent in approximately 50% of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected recipients in the first postoperative year. Approximately 10% of HCV-infected recipients will die or lose their allograft due to hepatitis C-associated allograft failure. HCV-infected recipients who undergo retransplantation have 5-year patient and graft survival rates that are broadly similar to those for transplant recipients who are not HCV infected. Although the choice of calcineurin inhibitor, mycophenolate mofetil, or both has not been clearly shown to affect histologic recurrence of hepatitis C, higher cumulative exposure to corticosteroids is associated with increased mortality and more severe histologic recurrence. In contrast to treatment of non-HCV-infected recipients, treatment of HCV-infected transplant recipients for acute cellular rejection is associated with attenuated patient survival. Steroid-resistant rejection with or without the use of T-cell-depleting therapies is associated with a greater than fivefold increased risk of mortality in HCV-infected liver transplant recipients. Pegylated interferon with or without ribavirin should be considered for treatment of recipients with histologically apparent recurrence of hepatitis C before total bilirubin exceeds 3 mg/dL. The role of hepatitis C immunoglobulin and new immunosuppressive agents in the management of hepatitis C after transplant continues to evolve.
ASJC Scopus subject areas