Author(s): Cotler SJ, Jensen DM, Kesten S
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Approximately 4 million persons in the United States are chronically infected with hepatitis C and morbidity due to this disease is increasingly observed in transplant recipients. While knowledge of hepatitis C in liver and kidney transplantation is advancing, little information is available concerning hepatitis C and lung transplantation. We surveyed lung transplant programs about policies regarding testing for hepatitis C, transplantation of hepatitis C-infected candidates, and the use of organs from seropositive donors. METHODS: A written questionnaire was sent to all United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) approved lung transplant programs. RESULTS: Fifty-nine of 89 (66\%) surveys were returned, including 49 from active programs, capturing 81\% of lung transplants performed within UNOS prior to January 1998. All programs screen candidates for hepatitis C. The estimated median seropositivity rate among candidates was 1.9\%. Thirty-three of 46 (72\%) programs consider seropositive patients for transplantation and most use virologic and/or histologic data to determine candidacy. All donors are screened for hepatitis C. Twenty-six of 47 (55\%) programs accept lungs from seropositive donors and many restrict the use of organs from seropositive donors to infected recipients. Few programs routinely test recipients for hepatitis C, and policies for monitoring those with known infection are variable. CONCLUSIONS: Lung transplant candidates and donors are tested routinely for hepatitis C. The majority of programs are willing to accept infected candidates and seropositive donors. Post-transplant follow-up of hepatitis C is variable and prospective studies are needed to evaluate the impact of hepatitis C on lung transplant recipients.
This article was published in J Heart Lung Transplant
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology