Faced with a shortage of donor hearts, transplant centers have had to expand their criteria for acceptable organs.
“We are an unhealthy society,” says Dr. Shelley Hall, chief of transplant cardiology at Baylor University Medical Center. “Our donors are sicker. They have more medical conditions so their organs aren’t as suitable after they’re braindead.”
Add to that safety laws good for population health, and Hall says, you have more and more people requiring heart transplantation than ever while donors aren’t increasing exponentially to match.
“If we look at the donors that we take now, these are donors we would have denied 20 years ago as not good enough,” Hall says.
However, she says treatment has advanced enough for clinical trials to determine if organs from hepatitis C donors could possibly come off the rejection list.
“Now, with an explosion of antiviral medications for hepatitis C, it’s now at a 98 to 99 percent cure rate,” she says.
That means heart recipients who develop the virus soon after a transplant would likely be cured.
|Read on: Hearts From Hepatitis C Donors Are Being Considered For Transplants In Clinical Trials|