Kidney Transplants for Patients With HCV Infection
"Transplant of an HCV-infected kidney followed by HCV treatment was more effective and less costly than transplant of an HCV-uninfected kidney preceded by HCV treatment, largely because of longer wait times for uninfected kidneys." the researchers write in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Recent studies have found that it is possible to transplant kidneys from donors who are infected with hepatitis C virus into patients who need a transplant and are already infected with the virus. In addition, drugs are available to cure most patients of hepatitis C virus, including those who have kidney failure.

Infected patients who need a kidney transplant have 2 options. One option is to receive an infected kidney and then use drugs after the transplant to cure themselves and the transplanted kidney of the virus. Another option is to use the drugs first to get rid of the virus and then to receive a kidney from a donor who does not have hepatitis C virus infection.

The present study examined whether it is more cost-effective to transplant HCV-infected or HCV-uninfected kidneys into HCV-infected patients.

Because it may not be possible to do this type of research with actual people, the investigators created a model that allowed them to estimate possible outcomes without using actual people. The model was a computer program that combined the best available information to approximate what might happen to participants in a real-world clinical trial.

The results found that infected people who received a kidney from an infected donor and then used drugs were more likely to live longer and have lower costs than infected people who used drugs first and then received a kidney that was not infected.