Hepatitis C and Liver Transplants
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FREDERIC GORDONSo some percentage of people, probably about 5% of people with hepatitis C, might progress to having advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis.
And then a small percentage of those people might actually get to the point where a liver is not working.
So they're having problems with yellow jaundice. They're having problems with bleeding, fluid accumulation. The liver may not be detoxifying the natural products of the day adequately.
And so when that happens, that's a person who might need a liver transplant.
It can be difficult to get a transplant.
It really depends on the number of donors that are available.
In certain parts of the country, there are plenty of donors.
And other parts of the country, it's more difficult to get a liver transplant.
So you get on the list and waiting time can range anywhere from weeks to even years.
It really depends on how sick you are.
The livers that are donated go to the sickest people and there's a scoring system that allows us to stratify who's the sickest and who's less in need at this time.
Hepatitis C, because it affects the liver, but it actually lives in the blood, if you have hepatitis C at the time of your transplant, the new liver is immediately re-infected with hepatitis C because the blood circulating around will re-infect the new liver on arrival.
And so the liver transplant does not cure you of hepatitis C. Now, you can be treated for hepatitis C before your liver transplant and then maybe you won't have it at the time of your transplant.
Or if you do, we can treat the hepatitis C after transplant, as well.
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