Beneficial Effect of Angiotensin-Blocking Agents on Graft Fibrosis in Hepatitis C Recurrence after Liver Transplantation

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Abstract

Background.

Hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation is often associated with accelerated graft fibrosis and progression to cirrhosis. Because drugs blocking the action of angiotensin-II can reduce fibrosis in different human and experimental models, we assessed the possible beneficial effect of these drugs on graft fibrosis in hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation.

Methods.

We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 128 liver-transplant recipients with hepatitis C recurrence. Twenty-seven patients (group I) received angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin-II receptor antagonists as antihypertensive treatment, and 101 patients (group II) did not receive these drugs.

Results.

No significant differences were found between groups I and II in demographic, clinical, and laboratory data. In contrast, cirrhosis in the graft was less frequently observed in group I than in group II during postransplant follow-up: 15% versus 35% (P=0.035), respectively, with a probability of cirrhosis of 9% versus 32% at 5 years after transplantation and 35% versus 70% at 10 years (P=0.0049). Furthermore, the fibrosis stage (scored from 0–4) in the liver biopsy obtained at the end of follow-up was significantly lower in group I than in group II (median [and range]: 1 [0–4] vs. 2 [0–4]; P=0.038), and the fibrosis progression index (increase of fibrosis stage per year) was also lower in group I than in group II (0.21 [0–0.45] vs. 0.52 [0–2.58]; P=0.006).

Conclusion.

The administration of angiotensin-blocking agents may be beneficial to reduce the development of graft fibrosis in hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation.

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