icon star paper   Hepatitis C Articles (HCV)  
Back grey_arrow_rt.gif
Hepatitis virus-positive livers OK for transplants
  NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Livers positive for hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAb+) or for hepatitis C (HCV) are safe for transplantation into patients with the same infection, according to a presentation at the sixth annual American Transplant Congress in Seattle, Washington.
"The big problem in transplantation is lack of available organs," presenter Dr. Michael E. de Vera told Reuters Health. "Each year, 18,000 people are listed (on waiting lists) and only 5000 or 6000 transplants are performed, so we lose a lot of people while waiting for organs. When used appropriately, transplanting HBcAb+ or HCV+ livers is a way to expand the donor pool."
Dr. de Vera's group reviewed outcomes for patients who received transplants at the University of Pittsburgh between 1997 and 2004. Included were 28 who received HBcAb+/HCV+ livers (group I), 58 who received HBcAb+/HCV- livers (group II) and 34 who received HbcAb-/HCV+ livers (group III). Those receiving hepatitis-positive livers had histories of infection themselves, Dr. de Vera said.
Patient survival was 68% in group I, 76% in group II and 82% in group III. Corresponding graft survival was 64%, 65% and 76%. No grafts were lost from HBV recurrence. Of 15 deaths in patients who received HCV+ grafts, two were due to HCV graft failure and two were HCV-related.
"Although HCV recurrence in groups I and III was universal, the severity of recurrence and response to interferon-based therapy was comparable to HCV patients who received HCV negative livers," the presenters note in their abstract.
"In an 8-year period there were over 100 liver transplants using these donors, and in that same time frame we did over 1000 liver transplants, so about 10% were hepatitis positive, which is a significant number," Dr. de Vera said. "These data validate that practice."
University of Pittsburgh study shows using expanded critera donors is safe
PITTSBURGH, May 24 –Patients who had received livers from hepatitis B virus core antibody (HBcAb) positive (indicates prior exposure to hepatitis B) and/or hepatitis C virus (HCV) positive donors had similar graft and patient survival compared to patients who received HBcAb negative or HCV negative livers, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. The results of their findings are being presented today at sixth annual American Transplant Congress, the joint scientific meeting of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the American Society of Transplantation at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle.
To help alleviate the shortage of organs, there has been an increase in the transplantation of livers obtained from extended criteria donors, such as organs from HBcAb positive and HCV positive donors. In the Pitt study, the researchers conducted a seven-year review of liver transplant recipients who received HBV positive and HCV positive organs between 1997 and 2004. The patients were divided into three groups. Group one consisted of 28 patients that received both HBcAb positive and HCV positive livers; the second group consisted of 58 patients that received HBcAb positive livers; and the third group consisted of 34 patients that received HCV positive livers. Patient and graft survival and recurrence of the HBV and HCV infections were compared between the various groups of patients.
Treatment to prevent recurrent HBV infection consisted of hepatitis B immune globulin and/or lamivudine for groups one and two. The mean follow up for all patients was two years and there were no significant differences between recipients of all groups with respect to age, sex and MELD scores – a liver transplant scoring system which estimates a patient's risk of dying while waiting for the transplant.
Patient and graft survival were the following: Group one, 68 percent and 64 percent respectively; Group two, 76 percent and 65 percent respectively; Group three, 82 percent and 76 percent respectively. Overall, recurrent HBV post-transplantation occurred in four out of 86 patients and no grafts were lost to HBV recurrence. Of those patients who received HCV positive livers, 15 of 62 patients who received HCV positive grafts have died; two deaths were due to HCV graft failure and another two were HCV related. One patient has been re-transplanted for recurrent HCV cirrhosis. While HCV recurrence in groups one and three were universal, the severity of recurrence and response to interferon-based therapy was comparable to HCV patients who received HCV negative livers.
Michael E. de Vera, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and lead author of the study, concluded based on these research findings that the use of HBV and/or HCV positive livers for organ donation is safe. HBV recurrence is minimal with the use of HBV prophylaxis and HCV recurrence is similar to that of HCV patients who receive HCV negative livers.
"These findings substantiate the practice of transplanting HBcAb positive and/or HCV positive livers. When selected properly for transplantation, these organs are often of good quality, and so long as they are transplanted to the appropriate recipients, long-term results are comparable to patients who receive livers from HBV- or HCV-negative donors. The use of these livers significantly increases the number of organs available for transplantation," according to Amadeo Marcos, M.D., chief, clinical transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh's Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute.
Collaborating with Drs. de Vera and Marcos from the University of Pittsburgh were Kusum Tom, M.D., Paulo Fontes, M.D., Wallish Marsh, M.D., Bijan Eghtesad, M.D. and Paul Lignoski, from the Center for Organ Recovery and Education.
NOTE TO EDITORS: "Abstract #1138, Liver Transplantation of HbcAb+ and HCV+ Allografts," is being presented at 3:30 P.M., ET, Tuesday, May 24. According to the American Transplant Congress (ATC) embargo policy, abstract presentations are embargoed until the start of the abstract presentation.
  icon paper stack View Older Articles   Back to Top   www.natap.org