The Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) is the most common blood-borne infection and cause of liver disease requiring transplantation in the U.S. More than one percent of Americans has a chronic HCV infection. As I describe in a series of posts, individuals with HCV are much more likely to develop cirrhosis and up to 5% will progress to liver cancer (i.e., hepatocellular carcinoma; HCC). According to a press release from the journal Liver Transplantation,:
Continuing increased demand for transplantation is driven by the development of liver cancer in baby boomers with HCV, but that the demand may decrease as patients born in this time period continue to grow older. The peak U.S. HCV prevalence of 4% occurred in those born in 1940 through 1965, who were 20 to 30 years of age during 1979 to 1989, when HCV infection risk was at its highest.
Study authors provide additional insight on the increasing demand for liver transplants.
Over the coming decade the aging of those infected with HCV will challenge the transplant community to reconsider current treatment plans given the projected increase in liver transplantation demand, particularly from patients with HCV and liver cancer. With the aging of the population of patients with HCV, many of these patients may not be healthy enough for transplantation and the number of liver transplants in patients with HCV may decrease.
- Lead author Dr. Scott W. Biggins
- Scott W. Biggins, Kiran M. Bambha, Norah A. Terrault, John Inadomi, Stephen Shiboski, Jennifer L. Dodge, Jane Gralla, Hugo R. Rosen and John P. Roberts. “Projected Future Increase in Aging HCV-Infected Liver Transplant Candidates: A Potential Effect of HCC.” Liver Transplantation; (DOI: 10.1002/lt.23551) Print Issue Date: December, 2012.