Triple Organ Transplant with a Hepatitis C Positive Liver

On December 12, 2021, Ed Hogan underwent one of the rarest surgical procedures performed anywhere in the world: a simultaneous triple organ transplant of his heart, kidney, and liver. Ed’s case had one more uncommon factor: the liver he received was positive for hepatitis C. Recent advances in the treatment and cure of hepatitis C make this kind of transplantation possible.

Living in Philadelphia, Ed initially received a diagnosis of heart failure, then cirrhosis of the liver, and finally, kidney failure. At 59, Ed’s physicians advised him to seek evaluation at University of Chicago Medicine for the treatment he needed.

“My cardiologist said, ‘go to U of C, because nobody does three organs,’” says Ed, “It gave me hope, because I was at the point where my doctors said I shouldn’t expect to see Thanksgiving [of 2020].”

After traveling to Chicago for evaluation, Ed received the news he had been waiting for, but with a twist.

“The doctors call in the middle of the night and say, ‘Hey, we have the organs ready for you,’” says Ed. “The liver, though, has hepatitis C.”

Hepatologist Helen Te, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center, explained the treatment plan for the liver, which was hepatitis C-positive. Ed was unfamiliar with the new treatments for hepatitis C, but trusted Te, saying, “Dr. Te explained that to treat the hepatitis C, I needed to take a pill, one pill every day, and that it was a cure for the disease. It just goes away. And I said, okay, let’s do it.”

Recuperating from the 20-hour surgery, while also receiving treatment for hepatitis C, Ed is still in the middle of a long and difficult recovery, marked by the loss of the use of his non-dominant hand, which he hopes will be temporary. He goes to rehab three days a week to rebuild his strength, while coping with extreme fatigue. He has help from his mother, Audrey, 82, who came to stay with him while he recuperates, and his 15-year-old daughter, Darby.

“I don’t complain,” says Ed. “I’m alive. My daughter is 15, so I have a lot of time left I want to live. That’s all I kept thinking the whole time, ‘I can’t die yet, I got a 15-year-old.’ I’m glad I have the chance.”