Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been the leading indication for liver transplantation (LT) in the United States. Since 2013, interferon-free antiviral therapy has led to sustained virologic response in many LT candidates. We compared the waitlist mortality of HCV patients with that of patients with other chronic liver diseases.Data for primary LT candidates were obtained from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network database. Adult waitlist registrants were divided into three cohorts: Cohort 1 included patients on the waitlist as of January 1, 2004; Cohort 2 as of January 1, 2009; and Cohort 3 as of January 1, 2014. The primary outcome was waitlist mortality, and the secondary outcome was the rate of change in Model for End-stage Liver Disease (MELD). Multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis was performed to evaluate 12-month waitlist mortality.The cohorts included 7,627 LT candidates with HCV and 13,748 patients without HCV. Compared with Cohort 2, HCV patients in Cohort 3 had a 21% lower risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.79, 95% CI 0.67-0.93). Among patients with non-HCV liver disease, no difference in mortality was seen between Cohorts 2 and 3 (HR 0.97, 95% CI 0.86-1.09). Among HCV patients, the mean rate of change in MELD decreased from 2.35 per year for Cohort 2 to 1.90 per year for Cohort 3, compared to 1.90 and 1.66 in Cohorts 2 and 3, respectively, among non-HCV patients.In this population-based study, waitlist mortality and progression of disease severity decreased in recent HCV patients for whom direct-acting antiviral agents were available. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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