Background: The recurrence of hepatitis C viral infection is common after liver transplant, and achieving a sustained virological response to antiviral treatment is desirable for reducing the risk of graft loss and improving patients' survival. Aim: To investigate the long-term maintenance of sustained virological response in liver transplant recipients with hepatitis C recurrence. Methods: 436 Liver transplant recipients (74.1% genotype 1) who underwent combined antiviral therapy for hepatitis C recurrence were retrospectively evaluated. Results: The overall sustained virological response rate was 40% (173/436 patients), and the mean follow-up after liver transplantation was 11. ±. 3.5 years (range, 5-24). Patients with a sustained virological response demonstrated a 5-year survival rate of 97% and a 10-year survival rate of 93%; all but 6 (3%) patients remained hepatitis C virus RNA-negative during follow-up. Genotype non-1 (p= 0.007), treatment duration >80% of the scheduled period (p= 0.027), and early virological response (p= 0.002), were associated with the maintenance of sustained virological response as indicated by univariate analysis. Early virological response was the only independent predictor of sustained virological response maintenance (p= 0.008). Conclusions: Sustained virological response achieved after combined antiviral treatment is maintained in liver transplant patients with recurrent hepatitis C and is associated with an excellent 5-year survival. © 2014 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l.
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