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Hepat Mon. 2014 Feb 5;14(2):e15285. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.15285. eCollection 2014.

How can we make decision for patients with chronic hepatitis B according to hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA level?

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  • 1Blood Transfusion Research Center, High Institute for Research and Education in Transfusion Medicine, Tehran, IR Iran ; Middle East Liver Disease (MELD) Center, Tehran, IR Iran.
  • 2Middle East Liver Disease (MELD) Center, Tehran, IR Iran ; Baqiyatallah Research Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.



HBeAg negative hepatitis B infection exerts both inactive carrier state and chronic active hepatitis, which are sometimes difficult to differentiate. Serial hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA quantification, alanine transaminase (ALT) measurement, and liver histology assessment can help to differentiate these forms of hepatitis B infection.


We aimed to clarify the clinical and laboratory characteristics of HBeAg negative hepatitis B patients.


Patients with hepatitis B, referred to Tehran Blood Transfusion Hepatitis Clinic from 2011 to 2013, were included and followed for one year. Laboratory assessments including liver function tests, HBV DNA quantification, and liver biopsy (for some cases) were performed.


Two hundred forty-three HBeAg negative hepatitis B patients were stratified into three groups based on to their HBV DNA level including group 1 (G1) with HBV DNA level < 2000 IU/mL, group 2 (G2) with HBV DNA level 2000-20000 IU/mL, and group 3 (G3) with HBV DNA level > 20000 IU/mL. The G2 had more similarity to G1 than G3 regarding their clinical characteristics.


It is concluded that most HBeAg negative hepatitis B patients with serum HBV DNA level of 2000-20000 IU/mL, persistent normal ALT concentration, and no or mild liver damage on biopsy can be clinically managed as HBV inactive carriers.


Hepatitis B; Liver Cirrhosis; Viral Load

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