The association between hepatitis C infection and survival after orthotopic liver transplantation

Gastroenterology. 2002 Apr;122(4):889-96. doi: 10.1053/gast.2002.32418.


Background & aims: The effect of hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection on patient and allograft survival after orthotopic liver transplantation is controversial. Hepatitis C recurrence after transplant is inevitable, but studies to date have not found a survival difference between recipients with and without HCV.

Methods: Using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, we performed a retrospective cohort study of 11,036 patients who underwent 11,791 liver transplants between 1992 and 1998. The hazard rates of patient and allograft survival for patients who were HCV-positive as compared with patients who were HCV-negative were assessed by proportional-hazards analysis, with adjustment for potential confounding variables, including donor, recipient, and transplant center characteristics.

Results: Liver transplantation in HCV-positive recipients was associated with an increased rate of death (hazard ratio, 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-1.35) and allograft failure (hazard ratio, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.21-1.39), as compared with transplantation in HCV-negative recipients. This reduction in survival persisted after adjusting for potential confounders. There was an interaction between HCV and sex (P < 0.001) with the effect of HCV on survival being most pronounced in female recipients (patient survival hazard ratio, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.35-1.81; allograft survival hazard ratio, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.34-1.70).

Conclusions: HCV infection significantly impairs patient and allograft survival after liver transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Graft Survival
  • Hepatitis C / mortality*
  • Hepatitis C / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Survival Rate