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Study backs older liver donors

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People with hepatitis C that receive livers from older donors are not at increased risk of transplant failure, death or recurrent disease in the next five years, according to research.

Reports suggest that recipients with hepatitis C that have received older donated organs are associated with poorer outcomes, said the authors from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. Their study aimed to find out if this was true.

They examined data from 489 adult liver transplants from 1997-2006. Of these patients, 187 (38.2 percent) were infected with hepatitis C.

Of these, 88.1% were alive after one year, 78.3% after three years and 69.2% after five. Donor livers were still functioning in 85.6 percent of hepatitis C virus–positive recipients after one year, 75.6 percent after three years and 65.6 percent after five years.

The study found no differences in rates of survival and organ survival between patients with and without hepatitis C at one, three or five years.

Seventy-two patients received organs from donors over 60, including 24 (12.8 percent) with hepatitis C virus. One, three and five-year patient and organ survival rates were the same for those with older organs as for those with younger ones.

‘However, we observed a negative effect from recurrent hepatitis C virus with a trend toward worsened long-term survival between years five and 10,’ authors wrote.

Archives of Surgery (2008) 143: 679-685

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