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UC Davis Transplant Center

UC Davis Transplant Center

Hepatitis C Antibody Positive Donors

Hepatitis C antibody positive donor organs are offered to hepatitis C positive recipients. If a donor tests positive for antibody to hepatitis C, additional testing is done to check for actual virus in the blood. Unlike hepatitis B, it is very likely that these donors will have virus in the blood, however these organs are only offered to recipients who also have circulating virus in the blood. There are many different strains of hepatitis C virus, and it is possible that the donor had a different strain than the recipient has. Patients who receive organs from a hepatitis C positive donor have a superior survival when compared to remaining on dialysis.

Previous research suggests that transplantation of hepatitis C positive kidneys into hepatitis C positive recipients does not affect patient or transplant survival up to ten years after transplant.  We cannot say with absolute certainty that transplant of a kidney from a hepatitis C antibody positive donor will not affect patient or transplant survival, especially if the virus strain from the donor differs from that of the recipient.  On the basis of current reported research, we believe that the likelihood of a poor outcome is low enough to justify transplant in this setting.  The potential advantage for hepatitis C infected recipients is that they will have access to organs that would otherwise not be used for transplant, and therefore their waiting time could be significantly shorter.  Patients must consent ahead of time to be offered a hepatitis C positive donor organ. At the time of listing all candidates who test positive for hepatitis C virus will be sent consent explaining the risks and benefits. The decision to accept a hepatitis C positive donor organ will in no way decrease the possibility of receiving an organ from any other donor.

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