News from Hepatitis Week of July 27, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 30

Study: Hepatitis C Does Not Markedly Up Risk for Kidney Transplant Recipients

People undergoing kidney transplants who are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not have a signficantly greater risk of dying or having their new kidney fail, according to a study reported in the July isue of the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The effect of HCV infection on survival among end-stage kidney disease patients who have undergone kidney transplants has been debatable. To shed more light on the issue, researchers examined the effect of hepatitis C on 1,006 kidney patients who received transplanted organs between March 1995 and October 2001.

Of the study participants, 45 or 4.5 percent were anti-HCV-antibody positive. These patients spent a longer time on dialysis and had a higher rate of retransplantation.

The seven-year patient survival rate was 89.9 percent in the anti-HCV-antibody-positive group and 95.5 percent in the HCV-negative group. The kidney survival rate over the same period was 75.0 percent in the anti-HCV-antibody-positive and 82.0 percent in the HCV-negative groups.

"HCV infection does not seem to influence patient and graft survival in living allograft recipients, and anti-HCV-antibody positive status alone is not a contraindication for renal transplantation." concluded the researhcers. "However, further studies are needed to better define the role of HCV infection in long-term prognosis."

Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology