- 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, California, USA.
- 2Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, California, USA.
Background: Despite increased utilization of hepatitis C virus-infected (HCV+) organs for transplantation into HCV-uninfected recipients, there is lack of standardization in HCV-related patient education/consent and limited data on financial and social impact on patients.
Methods: We conducted a survey on patients with donor-derived HCV infection at our center transplanted between 4/1/2017 and 11/1/2019 to assess: why patients chose to accept HCV+ organ(s), the adequacy of their pre-transplant HCV education and informed consent process, financial issues related to copays after discharge, and social challenges they faced.
Results: Among 49 patients surveyed, transplanted organs included heart (n = 19), lung (n = 9), kidney (n = 11), liver (n = 4), heart/kidney (n = 4), and liver/kidney (n = 2). Many recipients accepted an HCV-viremic (HCV-V) organ due to perceived reduction in waitlist time (n = 33) and/or trust in their physician's recommendation (n = 29). Almost all (n = 47) felt that pre-transplant education and consent was appropriate. Thirty patients had no copay for direct-acting antivirals (DAA) for HCV, including 21 with household income <$20 000; seven had copays of <$100 and one had a copay >$1000. Two patients reported feeling isolated due to HCV infection and eight reported higher than anticipated medication costs. Patients' biggest concern was potential HCV transmission to partners (n = 18) and family/friends (n = 15). Overall almost all (n = 47) patients reported a positive experience with HCV-V organ transplantation.
Conclusion: We demonstrate that real-world patient experiences surrounding HCV-V organ transplantation have been favorable. Almost all patients report comprehensive HCV-related pre-transplant consent and education. Additionally, medication costs and social isolation/exclusion were not barriers to the use of these organs.