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Transplant Proc. 2008 Nov;40(9):2943-5. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.09.029.

Response to a vaccination schedule with 4 doses of 40 microg against hepatitis B virus in cirrhotic patients evaluated for liver transplantation.

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Department of Digestive Diseases, Virgen del Rocío University Hospital, Seville, Spain.


We conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the response to recombinant hepatitis B vaccine after 4 intramuscular doses (40 microg) administered at 0, 1, 2, and 6 months in 157 cirrhotic patients who were liver transplant candidates. Seventeen nonresponders were revaccinated with the same schedule. We studied the association between the following variables and the vaccine response: age, gender, etiology of cirrhosis, diabetes, severity of liver disease (Child-Pugh class and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease [MELD] score), and the number of administered doses. The response rates were: 1 dose, 40% (2/5); 2 doses, 0% (0/7); 3 doses, 32.7% (16/49); and 4 doses, 31.3% (30/96) of patients. The median hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) titer was 45 mU/mL (range, 11-620 mU/mL). The response rate to revaccination was 41.2% (median anti-HBs titer, 88 mU/mL; range, 18-190 mU/mL). Diabetics showed a lower response rate than nondiabetic patients (17.2% vs 35.3%; P = .046). No association was observed between the response rate to vaccine and the other variables. In conclusion, the response rate to hepatitis B vaccine reached a little more than 30% in cirrhotic patients who received 3 or 4 doses. No higher response rate was observed among patients who received 4 doses. Diabetes was associated with a lower response rate. Anti-HBs seroconversion rates were not associated with the other variables. Revaccination may significantly increase the response rate to hepatitis B vaccine in cirrhotic patients, and may be considered in nonresponders after the third dose. Early vaccination against HBV should be considered in such patients.

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