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Heart, Lungs From Hep C-Infected Donor Can Be Transplanted Safely

Transplant into patients without HCV infection feasible, with excellent function at six months

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

WEDNESDAY, April 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Hearts and lungs from donors with hepatitis C viremia can be safely transplanted into patients without hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to a study published online April 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Ann E. Woolley, M.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a trial involving transplantation of hearts and lungs from donors who had hepatitis C viremia to adults without HCV infection (36 lung and eight heart transplants). The organ recipient was preemptively administered sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for four weeks beginning within a few hours of transplantation.

In the HCV-infected donors, the median viral load was 890,000 IU/mL. The researchers found that immediately following transplantation, 42 of 44 recipients had a detectable hepatitis C viral load (median, 1,800 IU/mL). All 35 patients who had completed six months of follow-up were alive and had excellent graft function; they also had an undetectable hepatitis C viral load six months after transplantation. The viral load became undetectable by about two weeks after transplantation and remained undetectable thereafter. There were no treatment-related serious adverse events. Compared with a cohort of patients who received lung transplants from donors without HCV infection, there were more cases of acute cellular rejection for which treatment was indicated in the HCV-infected lung transplant recipients; after adjustment for potential confounders, this difference was not significant.

"Longer-term data are needed to fully define the risk-benefit profile," the authors write.

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