Organs from hepatitis C-infected donors benefit many kidney patients

Organs from hepatitis C-infected donors benefit many kidney patients

A new medical approach recommended by University of Cincinnati physician-researchers may reduce organ wait times, save money, boost quality of life and prolong life expectancy for kidney patients. According to a computer analysis conducted by faculty in the UC College of Medicine, using kidneys from hepatitis C (HCV)-infected donors for transplant in non-HCV-infected dialysis patients and then treating the infection afterward could reduce the average wait for a kidney from four years to 1.56 years. That's a reduction of 61 percent. This matters because patients on dialysis have a much higher risk of dying each year. Patients receiving hemodialysis face an excess mortality rate as high as 15% per year, while the mortality rate for patients receiving kidney transplants is 2% annually. If we can shorten the amount of time that patients need to live on hemodialysis, survival can improve." Mark Eckman, professor and director of the UC Division of General Internal Medicine The findings are available online in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases and Eckman, also a UC Health physician, is the study's lead author. The computerized decision analytic model uses data from United Network for Organ Sharing and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients to establish an average wait time for dialysis patients of four years for a non-infected kidney, said Eckman. In the United States, roughly 103,000 patients are waitlisted for kidney transplantation. In 2018, only 14,725 or 4% received kidney transplants, said Eckman. The computer model shows results for both effectiveness, measured in quality-adjusted life years, as well as cost. Patients receiving transplants with an HCV-infected kidney gained nearly 10 months in quality-adjusted life expectancy compared with those who waited longer for transplantation with a kidney not infected with HCV. Quality-adjusted life years take into account duration of survival and the quality of those years. Eckman says the quality of life during the time following kidney transplantation is higher than that for the years a patient remains on dialysis. There is also a cost savings of $37,918 over the life of the patient when someone accepts an HCV-infected kidney and is then treated for hepatitis C compared to waiting for a non-infected kidney and continuing dialysis in the process, according to computer analysis. Eckman said patients receiving hemodialysis have medical costs exceeding $95,000 annually, while costs after transplantation surgery are roughly $36,000 per year. Physicians can now cure hepatitis C thanks to a new 12-week treatment regimen. Related Stories



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