December 29th, 2012
A new study has revealed that baby boomers with hep C are leading an increased demand for liver transplants in the US.
Researchers from University of Colorado School of Medicine found that 127,000 people had registered with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network between 1995 and 2010. 41% of those who registered for a new liver had hepatitis C and, according to the study in the journal Liver Transplantation, 81% of these were people born between 1941 and 1960.
The study also found that rates of new liver transplant candidates with hepatitis C and liver cancer had quadrupled among baby boomers. However, given the average age of baby boomers and the great advances in reducing new infections through control of medical blood supplies, the increased demand for liver transplants will not be permanent.
The study lead, Dr Scott Biggins, said that “over the coming decade, the aging of those infected with [hepatitis C virus] will challenge the transplant community to reconsider current treatment plans given the projected increase in liver transplantation demand, particularly from patients with [hepatitis C virus] and liver cancer.”
He added that “many of these patients may not be healthy enough for transplantation, and the number of liver transplants in patients with [hepatitis C virus] may decrease”.
Chronic HCV infects some 3.2 million people in the United States and is the most common cause for the need for transplants due to liver disease.
Photo by Chris JL