Transplanting hepatitis C virus–infected hearts into uninfected recipients: A single-arm trial

Rhondalyn C. McLean, Peter P. Reese, Michael Acker, Pavan Atluri, Christian Bermudez, Lee R. Goldberg, Peter L. Abt, Emily A. Blumberg, Vivianna M. Van Deerlin, K. Rajender Reddy, Roy D. Bloom, Richard Hasz, Lawrence Suplee, Anna Sicilia, Ashley Woodards, Muhammad Nauman Zahid, Katharine J. Bar, Paige Porrett, Matthew H. Levine, Nicole HornsbyCaren Gentile, Jennifer Smith, David S. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The advent of direct-acting antiviral therapy for hepatitis C virus (HCV) has generated tremendous interest in transplanting organs from HCV-infected donors. We conducted a single-arm trial of orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) from HCV-infected donors into uninfected recipients, followed by elbasvir/grazoprevir treatment after recipient HCV was first detected (NCT03146741; sponsor: Merck). We enrolled OHT candidates aged 40-65 years; left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support and liver disease were exclusions. We accepted hearts from HCV-genotype 1 donors. From May 16, 2017 to May 10, 2018, 20 patients consented for screening and enrolled, and 10 (median age 52.5 years; 80% male) underwent OHT. The median wait from UNOS opt-in for HCV nucleic-acid-test (NAT)+ donor offers to OHT was 39 days (interquartile range [IQR] 17-57). The median donor age was 34 years (IQR 31-37). Initial recipient HCV RNA levels ranged from 25 IU/mL to 40 million IU/mL, but all 10 patients had rapid decline in HCV NAT after elbasvir/grazoprevir treatment. Nine recipients achieved sustained virologic response at 12 weeks (SVR-12). The 10th recipient had a positive cross-match, experienced antibody-mediated rejection and multi-organ failure, and died on day 79. No serious adverse events occurred from HCV transmission or treatment. These short-term results suggest that HCV-negative candidates transplanted with HCV-infected hearts have acceptable outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2533-2542
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical research/practice
  • heart (allograft) function/dysfunction
  • heart failure/injury
  • heart transplantation/cardiology
  • infection and infectious agents - viral
  • organ allocation
  • organ procurement and allocation
  • organ transplantation in general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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