The Royal Free Sheila Sherlock Liver Centre and University Department of Surgery, Royal Free Hospital and UCL, Pond Street, NW3 2QG, London, UK.
HCV-related cirrhosis represents the leading indication for liver transplantation in the Western countries. HCV reinfection after liver transplantation occurs in virtually all patients transplanted for HCV-related liver disease Histological evidence of chronic HCV infection develops in 50 to 90 % of patients by 12 months after liver transplantation, and cirrhosis occurs in about 20 % of patients within 5 years after transplant. Several studies have evaluated host, viral, and transplant-related factors that might be associated with the severity of HCV recurrence. Among host factors, immunosuppression is one of the major factors that accounts for accelerated HCV recurrence and it has been an area of extensive research and controversy. Donor age, steatosis, and immunogenetic factors are also relevant in determining the outcome in patients transplanted for HCV-related cirrhosis. A major step to prevent complications of HCV recurrence related to the rapid fibrosis is the posttransplant antiviral treatment. Two strategies have been tried: pre-emptive or other strategies as soon as possible after liver transplantation or elective therapy once there is histological evidence of recurrent hepatitis C. Retransplantation due to graft failure from recurrent hepatitis C is rarely an option in the era of organ shortage as it is associated with poor outcome, but many case needs to be considered early in the evolution of disease. New antivirals may change the outcome dramatically of patients transplanted for HCV cirrhosis.