Hepatitis C-Infected Hearts and Lungs Safely Transplanted

As the number of patients in need of heart or lung transplants continues to exceed the number of donor organs that are viable and available, many patients die while waiting for a transplant. Through the DONATE HCV Trial, a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is expanding the donor pool by enabling transplantation from hepatitis C-infected donors.

In a recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, a multidisciplinary team of experts from Brigham and Women’s Hospital reported a 100 percent success rate for transplant recipients who received lungs or a heart infected with hepatitis C (HCV).

Six months after transplantation, patients remained hepatitis C free and had functioning transplanted organs. The trial showed that a four-week antiviral treatment regimen started immediately following organ transplantation prevented HCV infection in all patients and led to excellent outcomes. Given the success of the trial, enrollment continues.

The DONATE HCV Trial is the largest clinical trial to date for HCV thoracic organ transplantation. “If even half the other centers in the United States were to adopt the Brigham protocol, we would, in fact, shorten the time to transplantation by nearly half,” says Mandeep Mehra, MD, medical director of the Heart & Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The team has enrolled 69 participants to date.

In the above video, hear more from the investigators pioneering this trial, including:

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