Larger Liver Transplant Pool
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- There's good news for the 17,000 people on the liver transplant waiting list, especially for those patients with hepatitis C.
The majority of liver transplants in the United States are for patients with hepatitis C, the most common cause of the liver disease cirrhosis. To accommodate the large transplant waiting list, many centers have expanded their donor criteria to include older donors.
Some have been concerned hepatitis C patients would have poorer transplants outcomes as a result of the extended pool, but recent research shows organs from older patients are safe. Researchers at Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis found no differences in the one, three and five-year outcomes of patients with and without hepatitis C, who received organs from donors age 60 and older.
The results are considered preliminary since using older donors has only been in practice for the past five years.
"In conclusion, overall patient and graft survival in hepatitis C virus-positive recipients is comparable with that in hepatitis C virus-negative patients, and there seems to be little, if any, adverse effect on short- and medium-term follow-up with the use of carefully selected older donor grafts in recipients with hepatitis C virus," study authors wrote. "Data from this series suggest that the continued used of selected older donors is a safe method of expanding the liver donor pool, even for hepatitis C-positive recipients."
SOURCE: Archives of Surgery, 2008;143:679-685
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