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Does hepatitis C make me ineligible for a kidney transplant?

Patients with hepatitis C (hep C) who have kidney failure should still be evaluated for a kidney transplant, as their survival with a kidney transplant is better than survival on dialysis. The transplant center might request more testing such as a liver biopsy to determine the stage of liver disease or additional treatments prior to transplant. Now that newer drugs are available to treat hep C, this can be effectively treated even after receiving a kidney transplant.

Dr. William B. Salt, MD
Gastroenterologist

Some people with hepatitis C can get a kidney transplant. Kidney specialists (nephrologists) from the University of Colorado write about hepatitis C and kidney transplantation in a recent medical journal (the end of this answer gives this reference and how to see a summary of it online). Here's what they say:

Many who are infected with hepatitis C (or hepatitis B) can now be effectively treated so they can be eligible to receive a kidney. Even if the infection does not go away with the treatment, kidney transplantation can be considered if the liver is OK and doesn't have a lot of scar tissue (fibrosis and cirrhosis). A liver biopsy may be needed to check for this. If severe liver disease is found, sometimes a combined liver and kidney transplant can be considered. And sometimes, organs from donors infected with hepatitis C (or B) can be used if the virus is of the same type as the one infecting the person who needs the transplant.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.