Pre- versus posttransplant treatment of hepatitis C virus with direct-acting antivirals in liver transplant recipients: More issues to be solved

Abdelhai Abdelqader, Gokhan Kabacam, Tinsay A. Woreta, James P. Hamilton, Harry Luu, Kawtar Al Khalloufi, Behnam Saberi, Benjamin Philosophe, Andrew M. Cameron, Ahmet Gurakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: Our goal was to investigate wait times related to hepatitis C virus treatment with directacting antivirals before versus after liver transplant at a single center as well as wait times for insurance approval for preemptive treatment with these agents after liver transplant. Material and Methods: We retrospectively evaluated hepatitis C virus infections in transplant recipients of deceased liver donations in 2014 and 2015. Demographics, hepatocellular carcinoma incidence, Model for End-Stage Liver Disease scores, and transplant wait times were compared between patients treated before or after liver transplant. Wait times to approval of direct-acting antiviral treatment were evaluated in those untreated before transplant. Results: During our study period, of 67 deceased-donor liver transplants, 21 patients received hepatitis C virus treatment pretransplant (treated group) and 46 patients were not treated pretransplant (untreated group). Twenty-five patients in the untreated group received hepatitis C virus-positive donations, with all in this group treated with direct-acting antivirals. We found no statistically significant differences regarding age, sex, race, donation after cardiac death, or incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma between groups. The treated group had a longer median wait time (287 vs 172 days; P =.02). Twelve of the 46 untreated patients (26.1%) developed biopsy-proven hepatitis C virus-related relapse (median 87 days; range, 55-383 days). Preemptive direct-acting antiviral therapy was initiated at a median of 81 days in the untreated group. Conclusions: Although treatment of hepatitis C virus before liver transplant is an attractive option to eliminate the risk of complications, it can limit the donor pool for recipients to uninfected donors, significantly increasing wait times in regions with large hepatitis C virus-positive donor pools. Allocation of Model for End-Stage Liver Disease score was not different between the treated and untreated groups. Insurance companies should revise their policies for rapid approval of preemptive direct-acting antiviral treatment after liver transplant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Clinical Transplantation
StatePublished - Feb 2017


  • Therapy
  • Transplant wait time
  • Waiting list

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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