April 25, 2019

Transplanting hearts, lungs from HCV-infected donors into recipients without HCV infection

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In patients without HCV infection who received a heart or lung transplant from HCV-infected donors, treatment with a 4-week antiviral regimen prevented establishment of HCV infection, this study finds.

Of 44 patients enrolled in the study, 36 received lung transplants and 8 received heart transplants. All of the first 35 patients to complete 6 months of follow-up after transplantation were alive and had excellent graft function and an undetectable hepatitis C viral load. The viral load became undetectable at about 2 weeks after transplantation, and it remained undetectable in all patients.


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More cases of acute cellular rejection for which treatment was indicated occurred in HCV-infected lung-transplant recipients than in those who received lung transplants from donors without HCV infection, but the difference was not significant.

The results show that this can be a successful strategy, and the comparisons with the recipients of heart and lung transplants during the same period who received organs from donors without HCV infection are encouraging. Longer-term data are needed to fully define the risk-benefit profile, the researchers say.

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