Optimal timing for hepatitis C therapy in US patients eligible for liver transplantation: a cost-effectiveness analysis

B. Njei, T. R. McCarty, B. E. Fortune, J. K. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Recurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) following liver transplantation (LT) is universal for those with ongoing viraemia and is associated with higher rates of allograft failure and death. However, the optimal timing of HCV treatment for patients awaiting transplant remains unclear. Aim: To evaluate the comparative cost-effectiveness of treating HCV pre-LT vs. post-LT (pre-emptive or after HCV recurrence). Methods: A Markov state-transition model was created to simulate the progression of a cohort of HCV-genotype 1 or 4 cirrhotic patients from the time of transplant listing until death. We then used this model to study the cost-effectiveness of ledipasvir–sofosbuvir (LDV/SOF) with ribavirin for 12 weeks, administered for three separate treatment strategies: (i) pre-LT; (ii) post-LT preemptively prior to HCV recurrence; or (iii) post-LT after HCV recurrence. Results: In the base-case analysis using a median model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score <25 at the time of transplant, we found that pre-LT treatment of HCV led to more QALYs for fewer dollars compared to other strategies. Analysis limited to living donor LT recipients revealed that pre-LT treatment was also the most cost-effective strategy. When the analysis was repeated for MELD ≥25, decompensated disease (Child–Pugh class B or C), and hepatocellular carcinoma cases, preemptive post-LT strategy was more cost-effective. Conclusions: Treatment of HCV prior to liver transplantation appears to be the most cost-effective strategy for patients with a MELD score <25. For patients with a MELD ≥25 or decompensated cirrhosis, preemptive post-liver transplantation treatment before HCV recurrence is the most cost-effective strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1101
Number of pages12
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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