Increasing Utilization and Excellent Initial Outcomes Following Liver Transplant of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)-Viremic Donors Into HCV-Negative Recipients: Outcomes Following Liver Transplant of HCV-Viremic Donors

Hepatology. 2019 Jun;69(6):2381-2395. doi: 10.1002/hep.30540. Epub 2019 Apr 11.


Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy has altered the frequency and outcome of liver transplantation (LT) for hepatitis C virus (HCV). The high efficacy and tolerability of DAA therapy has also created a rationale for utilizing HCV-viremic (HCV-RNA-positive) donors, including into HCV-negative recipients. We examined trends in frequency of organ utilization and graft survival in recipients of HCV-viremic donors (HCV-RNA positive as measured by nucleic acid testing [NAT]). Data were collected from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) on adult patients who underwent a primary, single-organ, deceased donor LT from January 1, 2008 to January 31, 2018. Outcomes of HCV-negative transplant recipients (R- ) who received an allograft from donors who were HCV-RNA positive (DNAT+ ) were compared to outcomes for R- patients who received organs from donors who were HCV-RNA negative (DNAT- ). There were 11,270 DNAT- /R- ; 4,748 DNAT- /R+ ; 87 DNAT+ /R- ; and 753 DNAT+ /R+ patients, with 2-year graft survival similar across all groups: DNAT- /R- 88%; DNAT- /R+ 88%; DNAT+ /R- 86%; and DNAT+ /R+ 90%. Additionally, there were 2,635 LTs using HCV antibody-positive donors (DAb+ ): 2,378 DAb+ /R+ and 257 DAb+ /R- . The annual number of DAb+ /R- transplants increased from seven in 2008 to 107 in 2017. In the post-DAA era, graft survival improved for all recipients, with 3-year survival of DAb+ /R- patients and DAb+ /R+ patients increasing to 88% from 79% and to 85% from 78%, respectively. Conclusion: The post-DAA era has seen increased utilization of HCV-viremic donor livers, including HCV-viremic livers into HCV-negative recipients. Early graft outcomes are similar to those of HCV-negative recipients. These results support utilization of HCV-viremic organs in selected recipients both with and without HCV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Hepacivirus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / drug therapy*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Liver / virology*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods*
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Registries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data
  • Transplant Recipients / statistics & numerical data*
  • Viremia / surgery*


  • Antiviral Agents