May 24, 2012

Many Livers 'Too Fat' For Transplant


By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Published: May 24, 2012

Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

SAN DIEGO -- Increases in factors associated with fatty liver disease may be leading clinicians to discard more donated organs, researcher found.

In an analysis of data from the United Organ Sharing Network (UNOS), age, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension were associated with an increased risk of a liver being discarded, Eric Orman, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues reported during a press briefing at Digestive Disease Week here.

"We're actually throwing out livers that in the past may have been able to be used ... [because] of all these factors associated with fatty liver disease," Orman explained.

Orman said that over the past few years, there's been a decline in the number of liver transplants done, but that drop isn't explained by flat donation rates alone.

"Although donation rates have decreased overall, they haven't decreased to the same extent as the decline in the number of livers transplanted," he said, adding that one explanation may be an increase in discard rates due to poor quality of organs.

So he and colleagues conducted a retrospective study of data from UNOS between 1994 and 2010 totaling 93,232 organ donors. Living donors, split livers, and donors with a body mass index of less than 14 or more than 50 kg/m were excluded.

Among the nearly 94,000 donors, 75% of livers were transplanted and a quarter of livers were not used.

They found that the number of discarded organs was stable until 2003 (with a total of 1,058 organs discarded in that last year), and then rose to 1,828 by 2010.

In a bivariate analysis, they found that discarded livers more often came from donors who were older (median 49 versus 43 years), obese (35% verses 22% of non-obese donors), diabetic (35% versus 24% of nondiabetics), and hypertensive (31% versus 22% of normotensive patients).

Discard rates were also higher in donation after cardiac death, which is different from standard procurement. In the latter, a patient is declared brain dead but kept on a ventilator to keep the organs perfused (65% versus 22%). In donation after cardiac death, perfusion of blood to the organs is disrupted.

In multivariate analysis, the researchers found that all of the previous factors were associated with a liver being discarded:

  • Age (OR 1.03 for each year increase, 95% CI 1.03­ to 1.04)
  • Obesity (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.82 to ­2.03)
  • Diabetes (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.32 to ­1.53)
  • Hypertension (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.08­ to 1.22)
  • Donation after cardiac death (OR 12.3, 95% CI 11.3 to ­13.4)

The researchers also saw significant increases in median donor age (40 to 46) and the prevalence of obesity (13% to 31%) during the study period, along with significant increases in diabetes (3% to 13%), hypertension (22% to 39%), and donation after cardiac death (2% to 12%).

They estimated that in 2010, 44% of discards were due to increased age, 9% to obesity, 5% to diabetes, and 5% to hypertension. These proportions were stable over time, they said.

On the other hand, the proportion of livers discarded due to donation after cardiac death rose from 0.2% in 2000 to 26% in 2010, suggesting an increasing reluctance to use these grafts, they reported.

Orman said that, overall, the findings are important "because if these trends continue, we're going to see further declines in liver transplant."

Kenneth Andreoni, MD, a UNOS committee member, said the increasing prevalence of comorbidities in donors is a "double-edged sword" because it reflects the fact that public health messages about safety are getting through to younger people, even though that may mean fewer quality donors.

"We're seeing fewer young people dying in traumas, but we're getting less high-quality, excellent organs," Andreoni told MedPage Today. "The question is, how can we make the best use of more middle-age and older donors?"

When it comes to organs with fatty liver disease, some researchers have been trying to better quantify the type of fat in the liver so that surgeons can have a better idea of what's usable and what's not, said Andreoni, who is from Ohio State University in Columbus.

Improvements on the pathology side may also be needed, he said. For instance, pathologists may need to offer a more specific range in terms of the percentage of fat in the organ, so clinicians can more easily recognize if an organ needs to be discarded or not.

Other work has focused on whether there are better ways to protect a fatty liver so it has a better chance of working after it's transplanted. "Is there something you can put in during reperfusion, like an antioxidant, that will lead to better outcomes?" Andreoni said.

A co-author reported a relationship with Salix Pharmaceuticals.

Primary source: Digestive Disease Week
Source reference:
Orman ES, et al "The number of grafts available for liver transplantation is decreasing as a result of increasing age, metabolic syndrome, and donation after cardiac death" DDW 2012; Abstract 841.


Statins Reduce Cirrhosis Deaths


By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Published: May 23, 2012

Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner

SAN DIEGO -- Giving statins to cirrhosis patients with heart disease appears to lower the risk of both hepatic decompensation and mortality, researchers said here.

In a small, retrospective study, significantly fewer cirrhosis patients on statins had decompensation compared with cirrhosis patients not on the cholesterol-lowering drugs (38.2% versus 50.62%, P=0.018), Sonal Kumar, MD, of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reported at Digestive Disease Week here.

They also had significantly less mortality (P=0.043), she reported.

"Contrary to the prior belief that statins aren't safe in patients with cirrhosis, we found they actually may be beneficial in this population," Kumar said during a press briefing.

Clinicians have long been concerned that statins aren't safe in patients with severe liver disease, primarily because statins are metabolized in the liver and may put patients at greater risk of complications such as hepatic decompensation and liver failure.

Recent studies, however, have suggested that statins aren't harmful in these patients, and that they may even diminish morbidity and mortality for liver patients with heart disease, Kumar said.

So she and colleagues looked at data from the Partners Research Patient Data Registry on a total of 243 patients, 81 of whom were treated for dyslipidemia with statins for at least 3 months, and 162 who served as controls matched for age, gender, and liver disease severity.

The primary outcome was hepatic decompensation, defined as the development of ascites, jaundice, hepatic encephalopathy, or variceal hemorrhage.

The statin group was followed for a mean of 1,756 days and the control group for 1,503 days.

In each group, 70.4% of patients were Child-Pugh A and 29.6% were Child-Pugh B/C; factors such as MELD, albumin, presence of varices and beta-blocker use weren't significantly different between groups.

In multivariate analysis, statin therapy alone was significantly associated with a lower risk of decompensation, they reported (HR 0.44, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.71).

In addition, analyses showed an overall longer time to decompensation in patients on statins, they found (P=0.01), which was also present for patients with Child-Pugh A disease (P=0.04).

Kumar and colleagues also found that there was less all-cause mortality among cirrhotic patients on statins compared with those not on the drugs (37% versus 50.6%, P=0.043).

In multivariate analyses, statin use was significantly associated with lower mortality (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.81). Coronary artery disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, on the other hand, were associated with increased mortality, they reported (OR 2.62, 95% CI 1.78 to 3.86 and OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.52, respectively).

The researchers also saw a longer time to death in patients with Child-Pugh A disease who used statins (P=0.005).

Kumar said the beneficial effects on liver outcomes may be due to statins' ability to diminish portal pressure, which is associated with complications including jaundice and vomiting blood due to enlarged veins in the upper GI tract. That may be mediated via statins' known mechanism of increasing the production of nitric oxide, Kumar said.

She added that more prospective trials are needed, but Zobair Younossi, MD, of Inova Health System in Great Falls, Va., who attended the press briefing at which the data were presented, said evidence is amassing that statins are safe in liver disease patients.

"If you need to use them, you should use them, and not worry about the liver," Younossi said.

But Cam Patterson, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in an email to MedPage Today that most physicians still have "second and third thoughts about using statins in patients with severe liver disease."

"This is a retrospective, nonrandomized study, so it would be a big mistake to use this study as a general advertisement that statins can be safely used in patients with severe liver disease or that patients with liver disease will do better and live longer if they receive statins," Patterson wrote.

"What this study does tell us," he added, "is that carefully selected patients with liver disease can be given statins and that they seem to tolerate them well."

Questions that still need to be answered before making broad recommendations for the use of statins in cirrhotic patients include assessing which patients will benefit most and finding out whether patients fare better with some statins more than others, Patterson said: "I hope that this small study provides an impetus for additional studies that will answer these questions."

Kumar reported no conflicts of interest.

Primary source: Digestive Disease Week
Source reference:
Kumar S, et al "Statin therapy decreases the risk of hepatic decompensation in cirrhosis" DDW 2012; Abstract 595.


Herbal, Body Building, Diet Supplements Linked To Severe Liver Damage, Study


Even though supplements account for 18 percent of all liver injuries in the U.S. and their potential side effects and hepatotoxicity of supplements are still not well defined, nearly 4 out of 10 Americans take them. (David Gray/Reuters)

People taking body-building, weight-loss pills and other types of dietary and herbal supplements may be at risk for liver injury severe enough to warrant an organ transplant, experts warned.

By Christine Hsu | May 22, 2012

People taking body-building, weight-loss pills and other types of dietary and herbal supplements may be at risk for liver injury severe enough to warrant an organ transplant, experts warned at a press briefing at Digestive Disease Week in San Diego.

Even though supplements account for 18 percent of all liver injuries in the U.S. and their potential side effects and hepatotoxicity of supplements are still not well defined, nearly 4 out of 10 Americans take them.

"The number of cases in our network has increased over the years," Serrano said during the briefing. "There were no deaths, but 7% of patients needed a liver transplant. These are not trivial consequences," Dr. Jose Serrano of the National Institutes of Health said at the conference, according to Medpage Today.

According to the latest research from the U.S. Drug Induced Liver Injury Network, which evaluated patient information from eight locations across the U.S. from 2003 to 2011, dietary supplements used for body building and weight loss are the most common of any supplements to cause liver injury.

Serrano said that out of the 679 liver injury cases analyzed, 93 of the cases were caused by patients taking herbal or dietary supplements, adding that many of these patients were often younger than those who have similar liver injuries caused by other medications.

Among patients who had liver damage caused by supplements, 33 percent of them used them for body building, 26 percent for weight loss, and the remaining 31 percent used a variety of other supplements.

While the symptoms of liver injury caused by dietary or herbal supplements weren’t much different from injuries caused by other medications, researchers noted that one factor that distinguished liver injury from body building and supplements over drugs were itching, which occurred in more than 80 percent of the patients.

Around 66 percent of the patients in the study had to be hospitalized and 11 percent had developed abnormal liver function that lasted for more than 6 months.

While more than half of patients were only taking one type of supplement, 23 percent of patients used two or more supplements and 16 percent of patients look at least one supplement along with prescription drugs.

"There is so little regulation of the many products on the market," lead researcher Dr. Victor Navarro, professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, said in a meeting news release. "We couldn't possibly begin to figure out which products to target first without doing this research."

Dr. Donald Jensen of the University of Chicago warned that the biggest risk to patients that use supplements is not reporting it to a healthcare professional.

"Patients need to be label readers," Jensen told MedPage Today. "They can't just assume that everything out there is safe. There are things out there that can be potentially damaging."

He added that most patients may think that supplements "are food or that they're very safe. And there are some herbal medicines that probably are safe and may even do some benefit for people. I don't want to throw everything in the trash can. But, on the other hand, there are enough [supplements] that are damaging."

While not all people react negatively to supplements, Jensen said that there needs to be more research on potential patient interactions with herbal supplements.

"I don't think we're going to stop people from taking herbal medicines," he said. "I'd like to see the FDA regulate the toxic ones better, but otherwise I think the important next step is some scientific understanding of why some people get damaged and others don't."

Published by


Also See: Herbal, Dietary Supplements Take Toll on Liver

(RED)RUSH TO ZERO Campaign To Engage Gamers, Music Fans, Consumers And Celebrities In The Push For An AIDS Free Generation By 2015



May 24, 2012, 12:01 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- (RED) today announced the first-ever (RED)RUSH TO ZERO campaign, taking place June 1-10, 2012, to raise funding and awareness to help deliver an AIDS Free Generation by 2015, a critical milestone in the fight against AIDS. The virtual elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV is part of the eight Millennium Development Goals, which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by the target date of 2015.

(RED)RUSH TO ZERO, held in June, which is the 31st anniversary of the discovery of HIV, consists of a series of in-person and digital events and experiences involving brands, celebrities, gamers, music fans and consumers around the world. Since launching in 2006, (RED) has raised more than $190 million to fight AIDS. The recipient of these funds is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. (RED) helps finance Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants that have impacted the lives of more than 14 million people affected by AIDS in Africa.

(RED)RUSH TO ZERO will feature three major components: the (RED)RUSH Games, a global video game tournament; the (RED)Music program, allowing fans to buy (RED) tickets from major artists and iconic venues to turn their shows (RED); and the Cash & Rocket (RED)Tour, a fundraising road trip across Europe. "The world is at a historic moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS, with the opportunity to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV and take a critical step toward defeating this global pandemic," said Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED). "We will only get over the finish line if we create new funding opportunities and new ways to keep people engaged and energized- (RED) will do its part by bringing business, culture, sport, and empowered women together to help empower other women and their children by ensuring that the next generation is born HIV free. (RED)RUSH is a unique effort to build momentum and ensure that the incredible progress that has been made over the last decade continues. We are, as always, grateful to our corporate partners for stepping up and creating exciting, new opportunities for engaging consumers and generating vital funding for the Global Fund."

"We've made so much progress in the fight against AIDS over the last decade. Now would be the worst time to slow down," said Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "As the global economy threatens public sector funding, more than ever we need innovative fundraising models like (RED), which has done so much to align the private sector to our goals. We're excited about (RED)RUSH and its ability to tap into popular culture to help deliver a key milestone on our path to ending AIDS. We're very grateful for (RED)'s bold ideas to help us reach our goals."

The (RED)RUSH Games(RED)RUSH Games, which is being powered by STiKS GAMING, will launch on June 1st, and will partner with the world's largest gaming Conference, E3, in LA. Gamers will have the chance to compete globally against each other and their favorite celebrities on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 - for prizes and prestige - in video games including EA's FIFA 12, NHL 12, 2K Sports' NBA2K12, KINECT Sports Season 2 and Forza Motorsport 4. Gamers will donate-to-play, and proceeds will benefit the Global Fund. Each gamer's profile page will allow them to keep track of their scores, overall tournament results and, most importantly, see the impact of their donation.

Celebrities and brands signed up include Kate Upton, Converse, Michelle Rodriguez, Funny or Die, Samantha Ronson, Bugaboo, Michael B Jordan, Kris Allen, Mophie, Scott Porter, Ryan Cabrera, FEED, Wayne Brady, Aldis Hodge, Al Shearer, Kerli, Andrew Bowen, Ray Ford, Electric Touch.

(RED)MUSIC(RED)RUSH will engage music fans through (RED)ROWS, (RED) venues and the release of a single from the forthcoming album (RED) Hot + FELA. Artists are auctioning premium seats and exclusive packages to help fight AIDS in an initiative called (RED)ROWS. The first (RED)ROW auction will start on June 1st and end on June 10th and participating artists include Bryan Adams, The Black Keys, Leonard Cohen, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, K'naan, Diana Krall, Maxwell, Tim McGraw, Metric, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Phish, Pink Martini, Punch Brothers, The Tragically Hip and The xx. (RED) has partnered with white-label ticketing provider CrowdSurge to unveil (RED)ROWS, a unique technology solution that enables artists to turn their shows (RED) by auctioning concert tickets.

Popular live music venues across the U.S. will also participate in (RED)Music, with promotions to drive funds and awareness to the 2015 goal. Venues include Stubbs in Austin, Metro in Chicago, Brooklyn Bowl in New York and The Paramount, Neptune and Moore Theaters in Seattle.

Additionally, during (RED)RUSH the first single from the forthcoming album (RED) Hot + FELA will debut - a remake of Fela Kuti's "Lady" by Angelique Kidjo, tUnE-yArDs, Akua Naru and Ahmir Questlove Thompson which will be released on June 1.

Cash & Rocket (RED) TourA group of 70 women - entrepreneurs, lawyers, designers, doctors, CEOs, models, architects, fashion stylists - will take to the roads of Europe in (RED) branded vintage and classic cars on the Cash & Rocket (RED) Tour from London to Monte Carlo. The caravan of (RED) cars including (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan, Dr Patricia Asamoah from Ghana, LOVE editor Katie Grand, Charlotte Stockdale, trip organizer Julie Brangstrup, model Lily Becker, sisters Jemma and Jodie Kidd, entrepreneur Umberta Beretta leaves London's Berkeley Square on June 7 and ends in Monte Carlo on June 10, with stops in Paris and Milan. At the Paris stop, Bugaboo will unveil its latest design collaboration. (RED) has partnered with Crowdrise, the online fundraising tool, which will allow the women to fundraise before and during the trip. The trip will end with an auction in Monte Carlo with all proceeds going to the Global Fund.

During (RED)RUSH, (RED) corporate partners will offer consumers ways to fight AIDS and to build on the $190 million raised to date. The organization's first Central and South American partnership will see wireless providers Telcel and Claro introducing (RED) wireless products in 15 countries including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. (RED) will also launch two new partners - Tourneau will offer a (RED) collection of their Tourneau TNY watch and Bottletop will introduce (RED) versions of their iconic Luciana clutch bag and the unisex Kibe belt. (RED) partners include Apple, The Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks, Converse, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere, Bugaboo, Nike, Penfolds, SAP and American Express, and they contribute up to 50% of the proceeds from the sale of (RED) products and services to help fight AIDS.

Beats by Dr. Dre will kick off the inaugural (RED)RUSH TO ZERO campaign with a party in their NYC store on June 2nd.

About (RED)(TM)(RED) engages business and consumer power in the fight against AIDS. To date, (RED) partners and events have generated over $190 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This money supports Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants in Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia. So far more than 14 million people have been reached with prevention, treatment, counselling, and care services through these grants. (RED) dollars are used to support programs that have helped provide life-saving antiretroviral therapy for 220,000 HIV-positive people, put 130,000 HIV-positive pregnant women on preventative antiretroviral therapy to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission and reached 13 million people with HIV testing and counselling. Current (RED) Proud Partners include: American Express (UK only), Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Belvedere, Bugaboo, Claro, The Coca-Cola Company, Converse, Nike, Penfolds, SAP, Starbucks and Telcel and Special Edition partners include: FEED, Girl Skateboards, Mophie, Nanda Home, Shazam, Solange Azagury-Partridge and TOUS. (RED) is a division of The ONE Campaign. On World AIDS Day 2010, (RED) launched "The AIDS Free Generation is Due in 2015" campaign. (RED) has joined is joining the global health community in raising funds and awareness to help eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015 and helping to realize the first AIDS-free generation in nearly thirty years. Learn more at .

About The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and MalariaThe Global Fund is a unique, public-private partnership and international financing institution dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, TB and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents an innovative approach to international health financing. The Global Fund's model is based on the concepts of country ownership and performance-based funding, which means that people in countries implement their own programs based on their priorities and the Global Fund provides financing on the condition that verifiable results are achieved.

Since its creation in 2002, the Global Fund has become the main financier of programs to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, with approved funding of US$ 22.6 billion for more than 1,000 programs in 150 countries (as of 1 December 2011). To date, programs supported by the Global Fund are providing AIDS treatment for 3.3 million people, anti-tuberculosis treatment for 8.6 million people and 230 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts in dealing with the three diseases.



Liver disease and recovery research at UF garners $1.3 million grant


Filed under Health, Research on Thursday, May 24, 2012.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have received nearly $1.3 million from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to uncover ways to lessen liver damage by studying the body’s natural process for breaking down and removing injured cells.

During surgery or transplantation, surgeons stop blood flow to the liver, temporarily cutting off oxygen and nutrients. When blood rushes back to the organ afterward it often causes serious damage called ischemia/reperfusion injury.

Finding a way to boost cells’ natural cleanup process, — and with it, older livers’ ability to recover from such stress-related injury — would help patients recover after liver surgery. It could also increase the number of livers available for people on the transplant waiting list by reducing damage to the organs of potential donors, and may lead to therapies for other diseases such as cancer and neurological disorders.

“All diseases, including liver disorders, are the consequence of multiple, complicated changes in the body,” said principal investigator Jae-Sung Kim, an assistant professor of surgery in the UF College of Medicine. “I think the way to cure diseases is to fully understand complicated mechanisms. We can take advantage of our natural defense mechanism that was evolutionally developed to fight against many causes of illness.”

More than 16,000 people in the United States await liver transplants, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Only 7 percent of all liver donations since 1988 have come from people older than 65, despite the fact that they die at higher rates than people in other age groups.

The multidisciplinary UF research team, which includes principal investigator Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, chief of the biology of aging division in the department of aging and geriatric research, seeks to confirm earlier findings that the liver’s ability to recover from ischemia/reperfusion injury is linked to the process by which cells remove structures called mitochondria when they are damaged. Mitochondria provide the cell with energy.

They also found that the older livers are, the slower they are at responding to stress-related damage, partly because of lowered levels of a protein responsible for directing the cell clean-up process. Injured cells resumed normal activity when inundated with the protein, called Atg4B.

The researchers will study older mice to examine age-related changes in the cell clean-up process. They also will explore ways to boost that process and examine the resulting effect on damaged livers.

“There are many studies that have investigated liver injury in younger animals and mechanisms there, but these studies are unique because they’re studying older animals,” said Leeuwenburgh a member of the UF Institute on Aging. “Most liver injuries occur and liver resection interventions are done in older individuals.”

Knowing more about how the cell clean-up process works could pave the way for new therapies, not just for liver disease, but also for a variety of other illnesses.

“Growing evidence indicates that dysfunctional or impaired autophagy, cells’ natural clean-up process, is directly associated with various diseases, including autoimmune diseases, cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes,” Kim said. “Through this study, we would like to better understand basic molecular mechanisms of autophagy.”


Media Contact Laura Mize,, 352-273-5772


CDC Invites Public Comment on Draft Recommendations for One-Time Hepatitis C Testing for Baby Boomers


Dr. John Ward

HIV Policy & ProgramsMay 24, 2012

By John W. Ward, M.D., Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC

CDC has released draft recommendations proposing that all Americans born from 1945 through 1965 (“baby boomers”) get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus. In the United States, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants and liver cancer, which is the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths in the nation. More than 2 million U.S. baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C, accounting for more than 75 percent of all American adults living with the virus. Baby boomers are five times more likely to be infected than other adults. Most of them, though, do not know that they have the virus because hepatitis C can damage the liver for many years without noticeable symptoms. More than 15,000 Americans—mostly baby boomers—die each year from hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and deaths have been increasing steadily for over a decade.

CDC estimates one-time hepatitis C testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with hepatitis C and save more than 120,000 lives. CDC believes the expanded screening efforts are needed to increase the proportion of persons with hepatitis C who are diagnosed, and referred to care to slow or halt progression of the disease and avoid transmission to others. New treatments are now available that can cure up to 75% of infections, and even more promising treatments are expected in the near future. CDC believes that expanded screening efforts can prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths from hepatitis C.

CDC’s new recommendations augment current hepatitis C testing guidelines that call for testing individuals with a known risk for the disease. Studies have found that most persons do not perceive themselves to be at risk and are not screened. CDC’s recommendations propose that a one-time blood test for hepatitis C should become a standard part of medical care for all persons born from 1945 through 1965.

In a May 22, 2012 Federal Register Notice, CDC formally invited public comment on this draft recommendation. We encourage you to review and comment on these important proposed recommendations which will be available for public comment through June 8 on, docket number CDC-2012-0005. Public comment will be used to inform the final recommendations, which will be finalized later this year.

For more information, see this factsheet (PDF 374KB) on the proposed testing recommendations.


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Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infection in the United States. It?s estimated almost four million Americans are infected with this virus, but most of them don’t know it.