Background: Transplant practices related to use of organs from Hepatitis C virus infected donors (DHCV+) is evolving rapidly.
Methods: We surveyed U.S. kidney transplant programs by email and professional society listserv postings between 7/19-1/20 to assess attitudes, management strategies, and barriers related to use of viremic (nucleic acid testing (NAT)+) donor organs in HCV uninfected recipients.
Results: Staff at 112 unique programs responded, representing 54% of U.S. adult kidney transplant programs and 69% of adult deceased donor kidney transplant volume in 2019. Most survey respondents were transplant nephrologists (46%) or surgeons (43%). Among responding programs, 67% currently transplant DHCV antibody+/NAT- organs under a clinical protocol or as standard of care. By comparison, only 58% offer DHCV NAT+ kidney transplant to HCV- recipients, including 35% under clinical protocols, 14% as standard of care, and 9% under research protocols. Following transplant of DHCV NAT+ organs to uninfected recipients, 53% start direct acting antiviral agent (DAA) therapy after discharge and documented viremia. Viral monitoring protocols after DHCV NAT+ to HCV uninfected recipient kidney transplantation varied substantially. 56% of programs performing these transplants report having an institutional plan to provide DAA treatment if declined by the recipient's insurance. Respondents felt a mean decrease in waiting time of ≥18 months (range 0-60) justifies the practice. Program concerns related to use of DHCV NAT+ kidneys include insurance coverage concerns (72%), cost (60%), and perceived risk of transmitting resistant infection (44%).
Conclusions: Addressing knowledge about safety and logistical/financial barriers related to use of DHCV NAT+ kidney transplantation for HCV uninfected recipients may help reduced discards and expand the organ supply.