Although kidneys infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) were 2.6 times more likely than HCV-free donor kidneys to be discarded than used for transplantation, HCV-positive patients may well derive some benefit from receiving these organs, according to a report in the American Journal of Transplantation (online ahead of print).

Data from 93,825 deceased donors demonstrated that 29% of 6,830 HCV-positive patients received HCV-positive kidneys. The most likely HCV-positive recipients of the infected kidneys were African Americans, patients with diabetes, and those at centers with long wait times.

Subjects older than 60 years, women, and highly sensitized patients were less likely to receive them. HCV-positive recipients of HCV-positive kidneys received these organs 310 days earlier than the average waiting time at their center and 395 days earlier than fellow patients at the same center who were awaiting HCV-negative kidneys.

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Investigator Dorry Segev, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues observed that the shorter waits likely offset the slightly higher patient and graft loss associated with HCV-positive kidneys.