HCV in Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease

Okoh, Emuejevoke J.; Bucci, Jay R.; Simon, James F.; Harrison, Stephen A.
August 2008
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Aug2008, Vol. 103 Issue 8, p2123
Academic Journal
Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains an important cause of liver disease in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and conversely, renal failure has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality throughout the natural history of chronic HCV and its treatment. With improved awareness within dialysis units of the potential for spread and the institution of preventative measures, the prevalence of HCV infection in the hemodialysis-dependent population has continued to decline since 1995. Use of HCV (+) donor kidneys is associated with an increase in the prevalence of liver disease, but when compared with continued hemodialysis, transplantation using these kidneys is associated with improved survival. Overall, survival in patients with chronic HCV infection appears to be better after renal transplantation when compared with maintenance hemodialysis, and transplant should be considered for these patients. Data support the use of interferon and the improved efficacy of pegylated interferon formulations for treatment of chronic HCV infection in ESRD patients, although tolerability continues to be troublesome. The newest and most promising data regarding the treatment of HCV in ESRD involve the combination of reduced dose ribavirin with interferon or pegylated interferon suggesting similar enhancements in sustained virologic response (SVR) as seen in non-ESRD patients, but caution is advised, as all studies to date used ribavirin plasma concentration monitoring in patient with ESRD. Finally, with regard to postrenal transplant treatment of HCV infection, there is no evidence to support treatment with interferon-based therapy and pretransplant treatment remains the best option whenever possible.


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