Hepatitis C organ transplants

Life & Health

Kerry Hayes has had a faulty aortic valve since he was born.

He says, “I wasn’t getting the oxygen I was supposed to get. Blood would flow back and forth instead of all one direction.”

He got an artificial heart a year and a half ago, which is almost as long as he was on the list for a donor heart.

His doctor found Kerry a heart from a donor who had hep C. It could be cured with antiretrovirals after surgery.

Kerry got his heart and just found out his hep-C is gone.

He adds, “I felt that I was probably going to be cured, but you know, it feels good to have somebody tell you, yes, you are for surely cured.”

Transplant surgeon Jorge Reyes says 20 livers and hearts from donors with circulating hepatitis C have gone to patients so far.

The doctor says, “They’re hep C negative. They have never been exposed to hep C, but the risk of dying of their liver disease or their heart disease, etc., is very high.”

Twelve patients have been cured of hep C, seven are still getting treatment, and one died of transplant complications. no potential recipient has said no.

Dr. Reyes says, “If we have a donor who is hepatitis C positive, and with healthy organs, all those organs should be used.”

Kerry’s still taking a lot of anti-rejection medication, but he’s delighted to get back to his normal life with Rina, and his family.

Dr. Reyes says his team is looking at expanding the program to include kidneys from hep C-infected donors, but he wants more study done first.

In an initial study, 20 patients at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia were cured of hep C after kidney transplants from infected donors.

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