Mar 1, 2019
There is an acute shortage of hearts for transplant, but the University of Pennsylvania’s transplant team is increasing the supply with a treatment that allows use of organs from donors infected with the Hepatitis C virus.
The clinicians treated a group of 10 heart transplant patients who developed positive tests for hepatitis C with a 3 month course of Zepatier, a two drug combo medication. One of the patients suffered an unrelated rejection crisis, but the other 9 were cured of their hepatitis C and demonstrated excellent cardiac function.
As we live longer, more of use suffer from tired hearts, better known as congestive heart failure. Last year, more than 3000 hearts were transplanted, but more than double that number were left behind on the waiting list. Innovative programs like Penn’s and the future use of genetically transformed pig hearts may hopefully shorten and eventually eliminate that list.
One more thing. In this day of astronomically high drug prices and pharmaceutical company greed, Zepatier by Merck is one of the least expensive anti-hepatitis C drugs. I’ll say no more but I do give Merck some applause.
#heart #transplantation #hearttransplant #hepatitisC #Zepatier #Merck #healthnews
Rhondalyn C. McLean, Peter P. Reese, Michael Acker, Pavan Atluri, Christian Bermudez, Lee 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 Levine, Nicole Hornsby, Caren Gentile, Jennifer Smith, David S. Goldberg. Transplanting hepatitis C virus-infected hearts into uninfected recipients: A single-arm trial. American Journal of Transplantation, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/ajt.15311