Pretransplant hepatitis C virus infection and its effect on the post-transplant course of living renal allograft recipients
Background and Aims: Hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) is a main health problem in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. The effect of pretransplant HCV infection on survival among ESRD patients who have undergone renal transplantation is controversial. We report the results of a large monocenter study that evaluated the effect of hepatitis C on the patient, and on graft survival in renal-transplanted patients who received living donated allograft. Methods: A historical cohort study, we investigated all 1006 patients who received a living kidney transplant at Baghiatollah Medical Center in Tehran, Iran, between March 1995 and October 2001 (up to 85 months follow up). Patients' sera had been routinely assayed for anti-HCV antibodies and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) at the time of transplantation. The HBsAg-positive patients were excluded from the survival analysis. Survivals were examined using Kaplan-Meier analysis and compared using the log-rank test. Multivariate analysis was performed using Cox's model. Results: Forty-five patients (4.5%) were anti-HCV-antibody positive. Anti-HCV-antibody-positive patients spent a longer time on dialysis and had a higher rate of retransplantation. There were no differences in recipients' sex and age and donors' age between the two groups. The 7-year patient survival rate was 89.9% in the anti-HCV-antibody-positive group and 95.5% in the HCV-negative group (P=0.74). Seven-year graft survival was 82.0% and 75.0% in the anti-HCV-antibody-positive and HCV-negative groups, respectively (P=0.39). In the multivariate analysis, age was the only significant parameter correlated with patient survival (P=0.02). Conclusions: HCV infection does not seem to influence patient and graft survival within a medium-time follow up in living allograft recipients, and anti-HCV-antibody positive status (alone) is not a contraindication for renal transplantation. However, further studies are needed to better define the role of HCV infection in long-term prognosis. (C) 2003 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.