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Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2002 Feb;4(1):52-62.

Treatment of hepatitis B and C following liver transplantation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 3635 Vista Avenue at Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63110-0250, USA.


Advanced liver disease from hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the leading indication for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) worldwide. Our understanding of recurrent liver disease related to HBV and HCV in the setting of OLT has evolved rapidly in the past decade. Recurrent viral hepatitis may lead to graft failure, death, or the need for retransplantation. Until about a decade ago, HBV was considered a contraindication to OLT due to its frequent recurrence and development of associated liver disease. Medical therapy with hepatitis B immune globulin and nucleoside analogues has diminished the risk of HBV recurrence and led to improvement in patient and graft survival. Consequently, OLT is now considered to be the standard of care in patients with end-stage liver disease related to HBV. HCV recurrence after OLT is almost universal. Although short-term survival in patients undergoing OLT for HCV is similar to survival for those transplanted for other indications, recurrent HCV may have an impact on long-term patient and graft survival. A specific and effective therapy has not been defined for recurrent HCV following transplantation, but the combination of interferon and ribavirin appears promising. Optimal strategies to eradicate these viruses or to slow disease progression are continually being investigated in light of the disparity between supply and demand in a diminishing organ pool for OLT candidates.

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