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Chronic hepatitis B virus infection in renal transplant recipients

Elsevier Inc.
Publication Date
  • Medicine


Abstract Although in Western Europe and North America the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has declined in patients awaiting renal transplantation, it remains a relevant clinical problem, mainly in patients with a long history of renal replacement therapy (RRT) who may have been infected many years ago. At the same time, a significant proportion of renal transplant recipients (RTR) is at risk for HBV infection in areas with endemic HBV. HBV infection may increase morbidity and mortality in RTR. The majority of long-term studies reported reduced patient survival compared with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative RTR. The risk for morbidity and mortality of HBsAg-positive RTR transplantation is probably related to the extent of pretransplant liver disease. A thorough evaluation, including liver biopsy in many patients, is required to assess the individual HBsAg-positive patient's risk-benefit ratio. The influence of immunosuppressive therapy on HBV replication and HBV-associated complications is not well established and for clinical practice individually tailored immunosuppression is recommended in HBsAg-positive RTR. Careful screening for HBV reactivation in HBsAg-positive RTR and a regular clinical follow-up after renal transplantation (RTX) including liver sonography is required for early detection of HBV-associated complications. With the availability of new antiviral drugs, new options for pre- and posttransplant therapy might improve the prognosis of RTR with chronic HBV infection. Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

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