Risks, benefits, and ethical questions associated with transplanting kidneys from hepatitis C virus-infected donors into hepatitis C virus-negative patients


Utilization of kidneys from hepatitis C virus (HCV)‐infected deceased donors has the potential to increase the number of kidney transplants by 500‐1000 (or more) each year. This increase in the number of kidney transplants offers major opportunities to extend survival and improve quality of life for patients infected with HCV, as well as uninfected recipients. However, due to a lack of prospective safety and efficacy data on a sufficient number of HCV‐negative recipients who received a kidney from a HCV‐infected donor, as well as key logistical barriers, the practice of transplanting HCV‐infected organs into uninfected recipients is not yet ready to be considered as standard of care. Ongoing research coupled with a collaboration between insurers and transplant centers might bring positive‐into‐negative transplant into the realm of standard of care in well‐informed transplant candidates, regardless of HCV status.