Patient Perspectives on Solid Organ Transplantation from Donors with Hepatitis C Viremia to Recipients Without Hepatitis C Viremia


Organ transplantation from donors with hepatitis C viremia (HCV) to recipients without HCV (HCV D+/R−) has excellent medical outcomes. Less is known about the psychosocial impact and experiences of HCV D+/R- recipients, particularly outside of clinical trials.


We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 24 HCV D+/R- recipients (kidney n=8; lung n=7; liver n=5; heart n=3; simultaneous heart and kidney n=1) who received transplants outside of clinical trials and were treated for HCV post-transplant to assess their experiences and perspectives. We used thematic analysis to analyze the interviews.


Interviewees’ reasons for accepting an HCV D + organ were based on perceived benefits and confidence in the effectiveness of HCV treatment. The majority (62%) received HCV treatment within one month post-transplant (range: 1 day – 2 months). Most interviewees reported positive transplant outcomes, including reduced wait times and improved survival, health, physical activity, and quality of life. Overall, themes and experiences did not differ significantly between different organ transplant types. Generally, interviewees did not perceive stigma from those aware of the HCV D + transplant; yet, disclosure was selective and a few recipients reported concerns from family members about post-transplant HCV transmission risk. Other common concerns included treatment costs and delays, which were not always anticipated by recipients.


Our findings suggest that HCV D+/R- kidney, liver, heart and lung transplant recipients outside of clinical trials had overall positive experiences. However, HCV transmission risk, treatments costs, and treatment delays were a source of concern that might be mitigated with targeted pre-transplant education.

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