Study: Safe to transplant hepatitis C-infected hearts, lungs

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study suggests doctors can safely transplant lungs or hearts from hepatitis C-positive donors without infecting the recipients.

It’s the latest attempt to speed transplants by using organs that otherwise would be thrown away.

Doctors first experimented with hepatitis C-infected kidney transplants, using powerful new drugs to cure the virus in recipients who became infected. But it wasn’t clear if hepatitis C-infected lung and heart transplants would work as well. Plus, the hepatitis medicines cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital tested giving the medicine right after a transplant. It’s a small study but a shorter, cheaper round of treatment seemed to prevent infection.

The research was reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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