Brief communication: Glomerulonephritis in patients with hepatitis C cirrhosis undergoing liver transplantation

Ann Intern Med. 2006 May 16;144(10):735-41. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-144-10-200605160-00007.


Background: Patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) frequently develop renal failure after liver transplantation.

Objective: To describe renal histologic characteristics and concomitant clinical features in HCV-infected patients with end-stage cirrhosis.

Design: Case series.

Setting: Single-center liver transplant program in the United States.

Patients: 30 patients who received liver transplants for HCV-induced cirrhosis.

Intervention: Kidney biopsy during liver engraftment.

Measurements: Clinical data and laboratory tests of renal function within 6 months before liver transplantation.

Results: Twenty-five patients had immune-complex glomerulonephritis: membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis type 1 (n = 12), IgA nephropathy (n = 7), and mesangial glomerulonephritis (n = 6). Of these patients, 10 had normal serum creatinine levels, normal urinalysis results, and normal quantitative proteinuria. For 5 others, the only renal abnormality was an increased serum creatinine level. No patient had cryoglobulins in the blood or kidney.

Limitations: This small observational study did not include patients with nonviral cirrhosis and did not document post-transplantation outcomes.

Conclusions: Immune-complex glomerulonephritis was common in patients with end-stage HCV-induced cirrhosis and was often clinically silent. Its potential to cause renal failure after liver transplantation may be underappreciated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Glomerulonephritis / classification
  • Glomerulonephritis / complications*
  • Glomerulonephritis / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C / complications*
  • Hepatitis C / surgery
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology*