Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are the most common and serious causes of liver damage in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The natural histories of HBV and HCV infections in patients with CKD are not fully understood; however, recent evidence has emphasized the adverse effect of HBV and/or HCV infection on survival in this population. Chronic liver disease is the fourth most important cause of death after renal transplantation. The negative effect of HCV infection on survival among renal transplant recipients has been linked to liver dysfunction and extrahepatic complications, such as chronic glomerulonephritis, post-transplantation diabetes mellitus, chronic allograft nephropathy, and sepsis. The transmission of HCV by solid organ transplantation has been unequivocally demonstrated. Renal transplant recipients who receive kidneys from HCV-positive donors are at increased risk of death. Although several studies have shown that in patients with HCV infection and chronic renal failure renal transplantation is associated with better survival than is dialysis, recent clinical guidelines recommend that kidneys from HCV-infected donors should not be used in HCV-seropositive recipients without detectable HCV viremia. Monotherapy with conventional interferon has been suggested to be a useful treatment for hepatitis C infection in patients on dialysis. Although no evidence suggests that patients with CKD are more prone to suffer from hepatic toxic effects than individuals with normal kidney function, patients with CKD usually receive multiple medications; and drug interactions may, therefore, have a role in the pathogenesis of drug-induced liver disease in this population.
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