Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is common among kidney transplant (KTx) recipients. However, the impact of HCV infection on long-term graft and recipient survival after KTx from the large-scale data remains to be determined.We used the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) database to identify all adults undergoing KTx in 2004-2006 in the United States. A propensity score (PS) was created to match each HCV-positive recipient with a HCV-negative control for unbiased comparisons. Survival analysis was conducted to evaluate recipient and death-censored graft survival.Out of 33,357 adult primary KTx recipients, 1470 (4.4%) were HCV-positive. 1,364 HCV-positive and -negative pairs were selected based on PS-matching. Based on the multivariable regression models, HCV is associated with a higher risk of death (hazard ratio [HR]=1.50, 95% confidence interval [95% CI=1.28-1.75) and graft failure (HR=1.26, 95% CI=1.08-1.47). Infection was a more common cause of death in HCV-positive patients than in HCV-negative recipients (HR=1.64, 95% CI=1.12-2.42). The incidence of death due to liver failure was 0.23% per year among HCV-positive recipients, whereas no HCV-negative recipients died from liver failure. Graft failure due to recurrent disease was higher in HCV-positive than in HCV-negative recipients (HR=2.00; 95% CI=1.06-3.78).HCV infection is associated with decreased long-term recipient and graft survival. Future studies are needed to examine whether recently available, safe and effective antiviral therapy improves the long-term clinical outcome in these patients.
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