Objectives: Factors that determine the severity of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-recurrent disease in patients undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for HCV cirrhosis have not been clearly identified. To address this issue, we evaluated the histological and virological outcome in 25 patients who underwent OLT for HCV cirrhosis.
Methods: HCV-RNA was detected by qualitative and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The HCV genotype also was determined by polymerase chain reaction. Anti-HCV core IgM was tested by ELISA. Disease severity was expressed as a histological score.
Results: Sixteen patients had evidence of HCV-recurrent disease. HCV-RNA levels before transplantation (p = 0.029) and after transplantation (15 days, p = 0.004; 90 days, p = 0.040; 360 days, p = 0.010) were significantly higher among patients who subsequently developed recurrent hepatitis than among those who did not. The presence of anti-HCV core IgM before (p = 0.044) and after OLT (15 days, p = 0.017; 90 days, p = 0.037; and 360 days, p = 0.040) was significantly related to recurrence of hepatitis. The genotype was not related to the level of viremia, to the prevalence of recurrent hepatitis, to the presence of anti-HCV core IgM, or to disease severity.
Conclusions: The recurrence of HCV hepatitis in patients undergoing OLT for HCV cirrhosis is related to higher levels of viremia and the presence of anti-HCV core IgM, but not to the HCV genotype. However, disease severity is not related to viremia levels, HCV genotype, or positivity of anti-HCV core IgM.