Hepatitis C status of heart transplant recipients

Department of Gastroenterology, University of Padua, Italy.
Clinical Transplantation (Impact Factor: 1.52). 03/1998; 12(1):5-10.
Source: PubMed


The records of 155 consecutive patients who underwent successful heart transplantation (HTx) were reviewed to document the incidence of hepatitis C (HCV) infection. One patient was HCV RNA positive pre-HTx, and 12 patients (8%) developed transient or permanent HCV positivity post-HTx. HCV RNA positivity was associated with biochemical features of liver injury. Liver biopsy was performed in 8, and demonstrated features of chronic hepatitis in all. Two patients died of chronic liver failure at 50 and 56 months post-HTx, respectively. Interferon therapy was given to three patients, two of whom converted to HCV negativity. This study suggests that HCV infection is more common than previously anticipated in HTx patients, and varies from a mild transient condition to a fatal chronic liver failure.

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    ABSTRACT: Heart transplant (HTx) recipients risk acquiring hepatotropic viral infections such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the impact of these infections on post-HTx survival remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to define the prevalence, clinical features, and natural history of HBV and HCV infections in a cohort of HTx recipients. We retrospectively studied 360 consecutive patients who had undergone HTx. Clinical picture, hepatic injury indexes, and HBV/HCV viral serology were followed post-transplant. During follow-up (average, 8 +/- 3.1 years), 49 (16.5%) of the HTx recipients tested positive for at least 1 of the 2 viruses (3.1% HBV, 12% HCV, 0.5% concomitant infection). The prevalence of HCV infection in heart transplant recipients transplanted before and after 1990 was 28% and 4.2%, respectively, the latter being markedly lower (p < 0.001) than in earlier series of HTx recipients and much lower than expected in the age- and sex-matched general population. All HBV-positive and 58% of HCV-positive recipients developed chronic liver disease. Sixteen percent of patients developed cirrhosis during follow-up, and 8% died of end-stage liver disease. The prevalence of HBV and HCV in a large population of HTx recipients is not very different from that reported in the general population. Active viral replication of HBV and an aggressive natural history of both infections are seen in HTx recipients, however. The low prevalence of HBV- and HCV-related infection in recent series probably reflects current viral screening and vaccination policies.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2001 · The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: A more rapid and aggressive course of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related infection in organ transplant recipients has been described. Interferon alfa is the most accepted drug for treating HBV and HCV chronic infections. However, the use of interferon alfa-N3 has been contraindicated in heart transplant (HTx) recipients because of the hypothesized greater risk of triggering acute cellular rejection. The aim of this clinical pilot study was to evaluate tolerability, safety, and efficacy of natural leukocyte interferon alfa in the treatment of chronic HBV and HCV in HTx recipients. Seven HTx recipients were enrolled in the study: two with HBV, four with HCV, and one with combined HBV-HCV chronic infection. The patients had a mean follow-up after heart transplantation of 8.5+/-3 years, before starting interferon alfa-N3 treatment at a dose of 6 MU three times per week, intramuscularly for 12 months. All patients completed the treatment with no major side effects. No unexpected episodes of acute cellular rejection were observed during the treatment. Mean aminotransferase serum levels were significantly lower than before transplantation at 3 (P<0.03), 6 (P<0.02), and 12 (P<0.02) months of treatment and at the 12-month follow-up (P<0.02). A complete and sustained response was achieved in all subjects with HBV-related chronic hepatitis, whereas sustained virologic response was observed in one of four HCV patients. The preliminary data emerging from our study indicate that natural leukocyte interferon alfa-N3 can be safely administered in HTx recipients with chronic HBV or HCV viral hepatitis. Further studies with larger numbers of patients are needed to assess the efficacy of interferon alfa-N3 on HCV virologic response.
    No preview · Article · May 2003 · Transplantation
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a worldwide epidemic that is causing substantial morbidity and mortality in the general population. Due to inherent risks of HCV transmission through blood and tissue, solid organ and bone marrow transplant recipients have a higher incidence of HCV infection than that of the general population, especially in those transplanted prior to widespread screening for HCV in the early 1990s. The impact of HCV infection in liver transplantation is well characterized, but is less frequently discussed in kidney, heart, lung, and bone marrow transplantation. This article provides a comprehensive and current review of the literature with regard to the epidemiology, pathogenesis, outcome, and treatment of HCV infection in the setting of kidney, heart, lung, and bone marrow transplantation.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2003 · Current Hepatitis Reports
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