April 7, 2016 – Hep C and Transplants


Anchor lead:  People who have hepatitis C can be organ donors, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you need a kidney transplant you can now obtain an organ from someone infected with hepatitis C, the viral illness that infects the liver, often resulting in the need for a liver transplant.  Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon at Johns Hopkins, explains why.

Segev: Now this may seem completely outlandish in exchange for taking them off of dialysis.  Well it turns out that today the treatment of hepatitis C is so good we can pretty much guarantee that we can eliminate that hepatitis C from the recipient. We can get them transplanted, we can treat the hepatitis C and in all likelihood they will never even know that they were exposed to hepatitis C yet now they’re off dialysis.   :30

Segev says the need for kidneys for transplant is so acute that wasting even a single organ is unconscionable.  He hopes this change in organ availability will result in several hundred more kidneys becoming available for transplant each year.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.