Trends in the use of hepatitis C viremic donor hearts

Selena S. Li, Asishana Osho, Philicia Moonsamy, David A. D'Alessandro, Gregory D. Lewis, Mauricio A. Villavicencio, Thoralf M. Sundt, Masaki Funamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine trends in utilization of hearts from hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremic donors for transplantation, a strategy to expand organ availability. Methods: The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) registry was queried for adult patients undergoing heart transplantation between 2015 and 2019. We excluded multiorgan transplants, incomplete data, and loss to follow-up. Nucleic acid testing (NAT) defined HCV status. Results: Between 2015 and 2019, a total of 11,393 adults underwent heart transplantation: 326 from HCV NAT+ donors and 11,067 from NAT donors. The use of NAT+ hearts increased from 1 in 2015 to 137 in 2018 against a static number of NAT organs. The use of NAT+ hearts varied significantly across regions and individual centers. More than 75% of NAT+ hearts were transplanted in the Northeast region, leading to further travel (mean, 299 miles vs 173 miles for NAT transplantations; P <.001), with longer ischemic times (mean: 3.52 hours vs 3.10 hours; P <.001). More than one-half of NAT+ transplantations were performed by 5 individual centers, and a single institution accounted for >20% of all transplantations from viremic donors. Survival in the 2 groups did not differ by Kaplan-Meier analysis (P =.240), and multivariable regression showed no differences in acute rejection (P =.455) or 30-day mortality (P =.490). Of the 326 recipients of NAT+ hearts, 38 seroconverted and 14 became viremic within 1 year. Survival was 100% in the viremic patients and 97.4% in seroconverted patients at 1 year. Conclusions: Heart transplantation from HCV viremic donors continues to increase but varies significantly across UNOS regions and individual centers. Short-term outcomes are comparable, but effects of seroconversion and long-term outcomes remain unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1873-1885.e7
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • heart transplantation
  • hepatitis C viremic donor
  • regional variation
  • trends in use of donors with hepatitis C


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