Risk factors for hepatitis C recurrence after liver transplantation

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SUMMARYHepatitis C virus (HCV)-related end-stage liver disease is the main indication for liver transplantation performed in Europe and the United States. Recurrence of hepatitis C in the graft is universal and may lead to chronic hepatitis in most patients and to cirrhosis in 20–30% of patients within 5–10 years of transplantation. The natural history of HCV recurrence is highly variable but leads to a lower survival rate than other recurrent liver diseases. The immunosuppressed status and several other factors have been linked with the pattern and severity of recurrence. What remains controversial are those factors associated with fibrosis progression and how these could be modified to improve outcome of recurrent hepatitis C. No single factor but a combination of several factors is associated with fibrosis progression on the graft. The major factors associated with accelerated disease recurrence include: high viral load pre- (>106 IU / mL) and / or early post-transplantation (>107 IU / mL at 4 months), donor older than 40–50 years, prolonged ischaemic time, cytomegalovirus coinfection, over immunosuppression and / or abrupt changes in immunosuppression, HIV coinfection, infection by genotype 1b. Cautious follow-up of the pathology of the graft is mandatory including routine biopsies and / or noninvasive monitoring of fibrosis.

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