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When can my brother have kidney transplant surgery?

Q: My 31 years old brother is on dialysis for the last nine months. Recently, the doctor has told us that he has got infected with Hepatitis C during dialysis. The type of infection still needs to be confirmed by reports. When can he go for kidney transplant operation?

A:Hepatitis C is not good news, such infections are also acquired when a patient is on dialysis for a long time; in your brother's case it is nine months. If they do HCV RNA studies at your hospital it will be a help because you have to treat him with Interferon, Ribavirin, or Lamivudine or Zidovudine and see if the counts are coming down. Each unit has its own protocol, so you must discuss this with your nephrologist. Usually a Gastroenterologist will be consulted for this. It is usually a smouldering infection. Are his hepatic enzymes normal? Sometimes even a liver biopsy will have to be done to know the exact status of the liver. As most of the transplant drugs work through the liver, one must have a normal liver. And when these patients are put and these drugs they get immunosuppressed, and that means the Hepatitis virus has a good chance to kick up and multiply.

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