Longer survival of liver transplant recipients with hepatitis virus coinfections

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Hepatitis virus coinfections [HBV plus HCV coinfection (HBV/HCV) or HBV plus HDV coinfection (HBV/HDV)] may progress more rapidly to cirrhosis than hepatitis B or C monoinfections in immunocompetent patients. Only limited information is available on the outcome of coinfected patients after liver transplantation. We studied survival rates of 204 patients with viral hepatitis transplanted at our center between 1972 and 1997. HBV/HDV and HBV/HCV coinfections were present in 23 and nine individuals, respectively, while 97 patients had monoinfection by HCV and 75 had HBV monoinfection. Survival of coinfected patients was significantly longer than that of monoinfected patients (14.4 ± 0.9 vs. 8.5 ± 0.6 yr; p = 0.0003). The same was true for graft survival (p = 0.0002). In Cox's regression, viral coinfection (p = 0.0001), absence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (p = 0.00001) and no retransplantation (p = 0.02) were independently associated with patient survival. After exclusion of patients with HCC (n = 62), survival of coinfected patients was still significantly longer than that of monoinfected individuals (p = 0.002). The improved outcome was similar for both HBV/HDV and HBV/HCV coinfections. In contrast to immunocompetent patients, individuals with multiple hepatitis virus infections had an improved outcome after liver transplantation. Thus, viral coinfections may be associated with ameliorated courses of diseases under certain conditions.

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