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Survival Advantage of Kidney Transplantation Over Dialysis in Patients With Hepatitis C: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Ingsathit, Atiporn1,2; Kamanamool, Nanticha1; Thakkinstian, Ammarin1; Sumethkul, Vasant2,3

doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3182848de2
Clinical and Translational Research

Background The clinical outcomes of hepatitis C infection in kidney transplantation and maintenance dialysis patients remain controversial. Here, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that aimed at comparing 5-year mortality rates between waiting list and kidney transplantation patients with hepatitis C infections.

Methods We searched Medline, EMBASE, and Scopus databases published since inception to June 2011 and found nine studies with 1734 patients who were eligible for pooling. Eligible studies were cohort studies that analyzed adult end-stage renal disease patients with hepatitis C virus infection and compared death rates between waiting list and kidney transplantation. The crude risk ratio of death along with its 95% confidence interval was estimated for each study. Data were independently extracted by two reviewers.

Results The pooled risk ratio of death at 5 years by using a random-effect model was 2.19 (95% confidence interval, 1.50–3.20), which significantly favored the kidney transplantation when compared with the waiting list. There was evidence of heterogeneity of death rates across studies (χ2=22.6; df=8; P=0.004). From the metaregression model, age and male gender could be the source of heterogeneity or variation of treatment effects. A major cause of death in the waiting list was cardiovascular diseases, whereas infection was a major cause in the transplant group. There was no evidence of publication bias suggested by an Egger test.

Conclusions This systematic review suggested that hepatitis C virus–infected patients who remain on dialysis are at higher risk of death when compared with those who received kidney transplantations.

1 Section for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

2 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

3 Address correspondence to: Vasant Sumethkul, M.D., Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, 270 Rama VI Road, Ratchathevi, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.

The authors declare no funding or conflicts of interest.


A.I. participated in the research design, study searching, study selection, data extraction, and writing of the article. N.K. participated in the study searching and data extraction. A.T. participated in the data analysis and writing the article. V.S. participated in the research design and writing of the article.

Received 11 September 2012. Revision requested 27 September 2012.

Accepted 21 December 2012.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.