Recurrent hepatitis C virus disease after liver transplantation and concurrent biliary tract complications: Poor outcome

Lior H. Katz, Eitan Mor, Marius Brown, Nathan Bar-Nathan, Ezra Shaharabani, Jaqueline Sulkes, Orit Pappo, Ran Tur-Kaspa, Ziv Ben-Ari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recurrent hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is particularly aggressive in the post-liver transplantation setting, with rapid progression of liver brosis. Biliary complications remain a significant cause of morbidity following liver transplantation. Post-cholecystectomy biliary strictures are associated with advanced hepatic fibrosis. The aim of this retrospective study was to determine whether the presence of biliary complications affects survival in liver transplant recipients with recurrent HCV disease. The files of liver transplant recipients (53.7% male; mean age 52.7 ± 10.3 yr) were reviewed for incidence, type and treatment of biliary complications, and findings were compared between those who developed recurrent HCV disease (n = 47, 83.9%) and those who did not (n = 9). Twenty-one biliary complications developed in 12 patients with recurrent HCV (25.5%). Treatment with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography with balloon dilatation and stent placement or surgical revision was successful in nine (75%). Three biliary complications developed in three patients with no recurrence (p = NS). There was no statistically signi.cant association between recurrent HCV disease and biliary complications. However, among those with recurrent disease, the recurrence was severe in nine of 12 recipients with biliary complications (75%) but in only nine of 35 without biliary complications (26%) (p = 0.001). Death was documented in eight patients with severe recurrence (44.4%), including three (37.5%) with biliary complications and two (7%) with non-severe recurrence, neither of whom had biliary complications (p = 0.003). Antiviral treatment was successful in nine of 25 patients (36%) who received it. On multivariate analysis, biliary complications were a significant predictor of severe recurrence (OR 27.0, 95% confidence interval 2.07-351.4) (p = 0.012). Fibrosis stage in the second biopsy was significantly correlated with serum alanine aminotransferase (p = 0.01) and with duration of biliary obstruction (p = 0.07). In conclusion, biliary complications of liver transplantation strongly affect outcome in patients with recurrent HCV disease despite attempts to relieve the biliary obstruction and to treat the recurrent HCV disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-470
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biliary complications
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Liver transplantation
  • Recurrent


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