- 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.
- 2Department of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
Purpose of review: Cardiac transplantation remains the treatment of choice for patients with advanced heart failure, but is limited by a donor organ shortage. Utilization of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-positive donors has been recently adopted to expand access to heart transplantation. We review the history of HCV heart transplantation, modern drug therapy, and recent outcomes.
Recent findings: Since the advent of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy, several single-center studies, and retrospective reviews have demonstrated good short-term outcomes, shorter waitlist times, and clearance of viremia with recipients of HCV-positive hearts. Two principle approaches to treatment of recipients of HCV viremic donors are utilized. In the prophylactic strategy, therapy is initiated before viremia is detected compared with the preemptive approach where initiation of DAA is delayed until after viremia is detected. Future studies are needed to address uncertainty about medium and long-term outcomes of using HCV-positive hearts and to determine the optimal treatment timing and duration.
Summary: Utilization of HCV-positive donors has expanded the heart donor pool and appears safe through the early posttransplant period. We suggest that prophylactic administration of the shortest effective course of a DAA pangenotypic agent should be the current standard of care.