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Semin Liver Dis. 2004;24 Suppl 1:55-62.

Management of hepatitis B in liver transplantation patients.

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Centre Hépatobiliaire, Université Paris-Sud, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris, Villejuif, France.


The success of orthotopic liver transplantation for patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) disease has been compromised by reinfection. Prophylaxis has dramatically lowered the rate of reinfection and increased patient survival. Long-term treatment with hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIg), although expensive, is effective. New antiviral nucleoside analogs have also been evaluated. In patients with cirrhosis and replicative HBV infection, lamivudine before transplantation and in combination with HBIg post transplantation reduces reinfection, but the rate of resistance mutation is rather high, reaching 25% at 2 years. Adefovir has been used as a rescue therapy and prior to transplantation in lamivudine-resistant patients, significantly improving liver function and reducing HBV DNA levels. Patients with active viral replication should receive preoperative antiviral therapy with lamivudine. HBIg therapy may be discontinued in selected patients after transplantation, albeit with caution, because low levels of HBV DNA have persisted. Antiviral therapy has improved the prognosis after graft infection.

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