Recurrent hepatitis C virus infection after liver transplantation--long-term follow-up with respect to the HCV genotypes/subtypes.Z Gastroenterol 1997; 35(4):255-61ZG
Various factors may affect the postoperative course in recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after liver transplantation (OLT). The aim of our study was to evaluate the potential role of HCV genotypes and immunosuppressive treatment.
17 liver allograft recipients, HCV-RNA positive prior to OLT, were followed 26-102 months postoperatively. The diagnosis of HCV infection was based on clinical, serological and histological findings and detectable HCV-RNA in serum. The genotypes/subtypes were evaluated by a "reverse line probe" assay.
After OLT hepatitis C viremia was evident in 16 of 17 allograft recipients (94%). Two patients acquired HCV infection after transplantation (incidence 0.84%). Clinically eight of 18 viremic patients remained asymptomatic. Ten of 18 had an acute hepatitis (eleven to 27 weeks after OLT), of those nine patients developed chronic hepatitis (hepatic activity indices: grade 1-3) with progression to fibrosis in two patients. One patient subsequently developed cirrhosis. Subtype 1 b was predominant (eleven of 18 patients). After transplantation subtype 1 b was not associated with a higher rate of recurrent hepatitis compared to other genotypes/subtypes (45% in type 1 b vs. 71% in type "non-1 b"; n.s.).
Identical HCV genotypes/subtypes before and after OLT indicate a recurrent rather than a postoperatively acquired HCV infection of the allograft. Despite viremia most patients had no or mild to moderate hepatitis in the long-term follow-up. Different HCV genotypes were not associated with specific clinical courses of recurrent HCV infection after OLT.