Highly effective direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy has transformed outcomes of liver transplantation in hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients. We examined longer-term outcomes in HCV-positive recipients in the DAA era and analyzed the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for primary adult, single-organ, nonfulminant liver transplant recipients in the United States from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2018. Graft loss was compared among HCV-positive liver transplant recipients who received either an HCV-negative or HCV-positive donor (donor [D]–/recipient [R]+; D+/R+) and HCV-negative liver transplant recipients who received a HCV-negative donor (D–/R–). The groups were further divided between the pre-DAA and DAA eras. There were 52,526 patients included: 31,193 were D–/R– patients; 18,746 were D–/R+ patients; and 2587 were D+/R+ patients. The number of D–/R+ transplants decreased from 2010 in 2008 to 1334 in 2017, with this decline particularly noticeable since 2015. D–/R+ patients in the DAA era (n = 7107) were older, had higher rates of hepatocellular carcinoma, and lower Model for End-Stage Liver Disease scores than those in the pre-DAA era. Graft survival improved for all recipients in the DAA era but improved most dramatically in HCV-positive recipients: D–/R+ 1-year survival was 92.4% versus 88.7% and 3-year survival was 83.7% versus 77.7% (DAA versus pre-DAA era, respectively) compared with D–/R– 1-year survival of 92.7% versus 91.0% and 3-year survival of 85.7% versus 84.0% (DAA versus pre-DAA era, respectively). The magnitude of improvement in 3-year graft survival was almost 4-fold greater for D–/R+ patients. The 3-year survival for D+/R+ patients was similar to HCV-negative patients. In conclusion, the number of liver transplants for HCV has decreased by more than one-third over the past decade. Graft survival among HCV-positive recipients has increased disproportionately in the DAA era with HCV-positive recipients now achieving similar outcomes to non-HCV recipients.
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