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Transplantation. 2000 Jun 15;69(11):2382-3.

Extension of transplantation free time by lamivudine in patients with hepatitis B-induced decompensated cirrhosis.

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Department of Medicine, Meir Hospital, Kfar-Saba, Israel.



Liver transplantation for hepatitis B virus (HBV)-induced cirrhosis carries a high risk of graft reinfection and poor prognosis. Active viral replication is considered a contraindication for transplantation in most centers. Lamivudine, a new nucleoside analog, is a potent inhibitor of HBV replication that has been used safely for pretransplantation suppression of HBV replication.


We report the pattern of response to lamivudine treatment in three consecutive patients with decompensated cirrhosis due to the replicative phase of chronic HBV infection.


In addition to virological and biochemical response, impressive clinical improvement was noted in all three patients, with disappearance of the ascites and marked improvement of synthetic liver function tests. One patient converted to anti-hepatitis B surface and is free of symptoms 20 months after initiation of treatment. The other two patients experienced significant clinical improvement for 8 to 9 months and were removed from the waiting list for transplantation. However, progressive liver disease recurred in both patients--one underwent liver transplantation and the other is a candidate for the procedure.


The administration of lamivudine for pretransplantation HBV suppression was associated with impressive clinical and biochemical improvement. Lamivudine may extend the transplantation free time in such patients. The mechanism of this desirable effect should be explored.

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