Robin Kim, M.D. from the Liver Transplant Program at University of Utah Health Care talked about hepatitis C. Deaths from the disease are on the rise. It can destroy the liver and many people may not even know they have it.
Facts about hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting primarily the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus.
The infection can lead to scarring of the liver and ultimately to cirrhosis, which is generally apparent after many years.
The hepatitis C virus that takes a few decades to cause damage and carriers can have it for decades with no symptoms.
In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal and gastric problems.
Baby boomers are at particular risk. Two-thirds of people with hepatitis C are in the baby boomer age group, most unaware they have it.
How is hepatitis C spread?
Hepatitis C is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment and blood transfusions.
How is hepatitis C treated?
Hepatitis C can be treated with medications. Overall, 50-80% of people treated are cured.
Patients who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant.
Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplantation.
About University of Utah Hospital’s Liver Transplant Program
University Health Care’s Liver Transplant Program offers comprehensive treatments and care for diseases of the liver. As a leader in the region, our Transplant Surgeons and Board Certified Hepatologists have performed more than 400 liver transplants.
The Transplant Program’s approach provides patients access to a team of health care professionals who are experienced in all medical and surgical aspects of transplantation.
Recently, Dr. Kim and his collages performed a complicated liver/valve transplant procedure. It was only 10th transplant of its kind performed in the world and the first using a minimally invasive valve technique.
For more information about U of U Health Care’s Liver Transplant Program, call 801-581-6795.