Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is common among kidney transplant (KTx) recipients. However, the impact of HCV infection on long-term graft and recipient survival after KTx from large-scale data remains to be determined.Methods
We used the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database to identify all adults undergoing KTx in 2004 to 2006 in the United States. A propensity score was created to match each HCV-positive recipient with an HCV-negative control for unbiased comparisons. Survival analysis was conducted to evaluate recipient and death-censored graft survival.Results
Out of 33 357 adult primary KTx recipients, 1470 (4.4%) were HCV-positive: 1364 HCV-positive and -negative pairs were selected by propensity score matching. Based on multivariable regression models, HCV is associated with a higher risk of death (hazard ratio [HR], 1.50; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.28-1.75) and graft failure (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.08-1.47). Infection was a more common cause of death in HCV-positive patients than in HCV-negative recipients (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.12-2.42). The incidence of death due to liver failure was 0.23% per year among HCV-positive recipients, whereas no HCV-negative recipients died from liver failure. Graft failure due to recurrent disease was higher in HCV-positive than in HCV-negative recipients (HR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.06-3.78).Conclusion
HCV infection is associated with decreased long-term recipient and graft survival. Future studies are needed to examine whether recently available, safe, and effective antiviral therapy improves the long-term clinical outcome in these patients.