Eliminating Hepatitis C Virus From a Prevalent Kidney Transplant Recipient Population: A Single-Center Study in Belgium in the Direct-Acting Antivirals Era.


Department of Nephrology, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium; Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have revolutionized the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Although previous studies have reported positive results with DAAs after kidney transplantation (KT), their impact on the prevalence of HCV viremia (HCVv) in prevalent kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) remains ill defined.
METHODS : We retrospectively reviewed the HCV status of all patients followed at Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium, outpatient KT clinic between January 2014 and December 2018. We collected the clinical features of KTRs treated with DAAs during this period and calculated the annual prevalence of HCVv over this period.
RESULTS : Out of 1451 KTRs, 22 (1.52%) had HCVv in 2014 to 2018. From 2014 to 2018, the annual prevalence of HCVv dropped from 1.97% to 0.43%, (P < .001). Fourteen KTRs were treated with DAAs a median of 197 months (range: 5-374) after KT, mostly (79%) in 2017 after reimbursement restrictions of DAAs for KTRs in Belgium were removed. DAA treatment was safe with a sustained virological response rate at 12 weeks after treatment (SVR12) of 93%. Two patients died 14 months (lymphoma, despite SVR12) and 7 months (hepatocarcinoma, no SVR12) after DAAs initiation, respectively. Among HCVv KTRs not treated with DAAs (n = 8), 2 lost their graft, 5 died, and 1 is initiating therapy. The current prevalence of HCVv in the cohort is 0.08%, with a single patient currently on treatment.
CONCLUSIONS : Treatment with DAAs led to a dramatic decrease of HCVv prevalence in this KTR cohort. DAA use was safe and effective. Elimination of HCV is possible at KT clinics.

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