1 Department of Medicine, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.
2 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Alameda Health System - Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA, USA.
BACKGROUND: Improved efforts in screening and treating chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are expected to reduce its burden among adults on the liver transplantation (LT) waitlist (WL). We aim to evaluate birth cohort-specific liver disease etiology trends in US adults listed for and receiving LT.
METHODS: We evaluated 2005-2016 United Network for Organ Sharing LT registry data to evaluate birth cohort-specific trends in LT WL registrants and recipients in the US. Annual trends in etiology of liver disease at listing were compared between the 1945-1965 birth cohort and the non-1945-1965 birth cohort, were stratified by presence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC vs. non-HCC), and were focused on the four leading indications for LT in the US, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), HCV infection, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and those with combined alcoholic cirrhosis with HCV (HCV/ALD).
RESULTS: From 2005 to 2016, although HCV infection was a leading indication for LT WL registration among the 1945-1965 birth cohort patients until 2015, NASH overtook HCV infection as the leading indication in 2016. When stratified by HCC status, both ALD and NASH surpassed HCV infection as the leading indication among 1945-1965 birth cohort WL registrants without HCC, whereas HCV infection remained the leading indication among patients with HCC. When evaluating trends in patients who received LT, HCV infection remained the leading indication among the 1945-1965 birth cohort patients.
CONCLUSION: In 2016, NASH surpassed HCV infection as the leading indication for WL registration among the 1945-1965 birth cohort patients. Improved HCV screening, increased availability of effective HCV infection treatment, and rising prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease may explain changes in LT indication among this group.