The hepatitis G virus is a newly discovered flavivirus that has been linked to acute and chronic hepatitis of unknown cause. We determined the prevalence of hepatitis G virus infection in 179 selected patients undergoing liver transplantation at three centers participating in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Liver Transplantation Database. Pretransplantation and posttransplantation specimens were tested for hepatitis G virus RNA by polymerase chain reaction. Before transplantation, 9 of 38 (24%) patients with fulminant hepatic failure, 9 of 62 (15%) with cryptogenic cirrhosis, 3 of 35 (9%) with cholestatic liver disease, and 5 of 44 (11%) with chronic hepatitis C were positive for hepatitis G virus RNA (P = .27). Patients with and without viral RNA were similar in clinical features, liver test abnormalities, and survival after transplantation posttransplantation serum specimens were tested from 73 patients; 9 of 11 (82%) who were positive for viral RNA before transplantation remained positive, but 35 of 62 (56%) patients who were initially negative became positive after transplantation, a rate consistent with that predicted from the number of blood products administered. Only 5% of de hove HGV infections could be attributed to preexisting hepatitis G virus RNA in the donor. Comparison of patients with and without hepatitis G virus infection showed no difference in incidence of hepatitis after transplantation. Thus, hepatitis G virus infection was present in 15% of patients before and appeared de novo in half of patients after liver transplantation. Although hepatitis G virus infection was not associated with poor outcome, the frequency of this infection after transplantation calls for further long-term evaluation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas