Three liver transplants successfully performed at IRCCS ISMETT in Palermo

Three liver transplants successfully performed at IRCCS ISMETT in Palermo using hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive donor organs with initial chronic damage. For the first time a patient not suffering from HCV was an organ recipient.

The transplants could be performed thanks to the availability of new direct-acting antiviral agents that allow to pharmacologically treat the HCV infection, with success rates higher than 95%. Cases of organs procured from HCV-infected donors and used on patients who do not have this disease are extremely rare. In the United States, this procedure was used for the first time this year at a transplant center in Utah.

“Over the past few years”, says Salvatore Gruttadauria, Director of the Department for the Treatment and Study of Abdominal Diseases and Abdominal Transplantation of ISMETT, “we had already performed liver transplants using grafts procured from donors with HCV. However, in the previous cases before this last series of transplants, there were no signs of the disease in the liver, and the recipients were all HCV-infected”.

Overall, the survival rate in this group of patients was not lower than the one reported in patients who received a liver not infected by HCV, and in all these last cases there was a sustained virology response, equivalent to recovery from the HCV infection. “The use of these organs that until a few years ago were considered not suitable for transplant”, commented Angelo Luca, CEO of ISMETT, “is a new important tool to fight the shortage of organ donors, and will allow us to further reduce mortality of patients on the waiting list”.