Harmful Effects of Viral Replication in Seropositive Hepatitis C Virus Renal Transplant Recipients

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Seropositivity for hepatitis C virus (HCV) predicts lower patient and graft survival after renal transplantation (RT). However, the influence of viral replication at transplantation on long-term outcome remains to be determined.


This was a retrospective study conducted in four Spanish hospitals, from 1997 to 2006. Data of all patients with RT, who displayed HCV+ (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), and with negative viremia at RT (NEG group) were collected (n=41). For each NEG patient enrolled, data of two patients with RT nearest in time, HCV+, and positive viremia (POS group) were also collected (n=78).


The POS group showed a higher incidence of long-term liver disease (56.4% vs. 24.4%, P=0.0009) and episodes of transaminase elevation (38.5% vs. 7.3%, P=0.0003) and worse renal function (serum creatinine [sCr], 3.0 [2.7] vs. 1.9 [1.6] mg/dl, P=0.032; glomerular filtration rate, 43.7 [22.4] vs. 56.9 [27.9] ml/min, P=0.075). Noteworthy, 24.4% of NEG patients reactivated after RT, showing a worse patient survival (P=0.039). Active viral replication at RT and dialysis requirement in the first week remained as independent predictors of lower graft survival (death censored): hazards ratio, 3.11 (95% confidence interval, 1.34–7.19; P=0.009) and hazards ratio 3.13 (95% confidence interval, 1.53–6.37; P=0.002).


This study shows that active viral replication at transplantation is an independent risk factor for graft failure in patients with positive serology for HCV.

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