The high efficacy of current hepatitis C virus (HCV) therapy and increased numbers of HCV-infected deceased donors have changed the paradigm of HCV in liver transplantation (LT). Modeling studies have been performed to evaluate the optimal timing of HCV treatment (before versus after LT) in HCV-infected patients and to assess the cost-effectiveness of transplanting HCV-infected livers into HCV− patients. However, these models rely on historical data and have not quantified the temporal changes in the median Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score at transplant of recipients of an HCV-infected liver across geographic areas. We performed a retrospective cohort study of Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) data of nonstatus 1 deceased donor LT recipients from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2018, and we calculated the difference in allocation MELD score in recipients of HCV nucleic acid test (NAT)− versus NAT+ livers by year and UNOS region. We used Pearson correlation coefficients to assess the relationship between MELD score difference in recipients of HCV NAT+ versus HCV NAT− livers and the proportion of non-HCV recipients of HCV NAT+ livers. Nationally, the allocation MELD score difference at LT in recipients of HCV NAT+ versus NAT− livers did not change (4-point difference). This stability was seen in regions 3, 5, and 10. In regions 1, 7, 8, 9, and 11, the MELD score difference decreased, which is a diminishing advantage. However, in regions 2 and 4, it increased, which is a rising advantage. In 2018, recipients of HCV NAT+ livers had a lower MELD score in 9/11 regions, and the MELD score advantage of accepting HCV NAT+ livers had a moderate inverse correlation with the regional use in non-HCV patients (r = −0.53). These data should be used to inform clinicians of the pre- and post-LT trade-offs of HCV treatment.
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