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J Hepatol. 1995 Mar;22(3):257-62.

Survival after liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B using reduced immunosuppression.

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1
Department of Transplantation, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco 94115, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Recurrent hepatitis B virus infection after liver transplantation performed for chronic hepatitis B with cirrhosis is influenced by a number of factors, including coinfection with the hepatitis D virus, the level of HBV replication, and administration of hepatitis B immune globulin. Another potentially important factor in modulating HBV infection after liver transplantation is the degree of immunosuppression post-transplant. We reviewed an institutional experience with liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B and analyzed the impact of using lower doses of corticosteroids on HBV reinfection, expression of recurrent HBV disease and patient survival.

METHODS:

Of 17 patients undergoing liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B, 16 patients received variable doses of hepatitis B immune globulin for up to 6 months.

RESULTS:

Fifteen of the 16 patients remained HBsAg-negative during hepatitis B immune globulin therapy, but ultimately 13 of the 17 patients had HBV reinfection, including 3 of 4 patients with hepatitis D virus coinfection. Long-term survival (82%) of the 17 chronic hepatitis B patients was not different from the survival (75%) of 195 patients transplanted for other indications. Three of 13 patients who were reinfected died from chronic hepatitis B with liver failure. Reinfection did not appear to be related to the pretransplant degree of viral replication. Compared to an age- and sex-matched control group, patients undergoing liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B received less cumulative intravenous methylprednisolone and oral prednisone, but did not experience a higher rate of graft rejection.

CONCLUSIONS:

We postulate that use of lower doses of corticosteroids after liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B is safe and not associated with a higher incidence of graft rejection. Moreover, low-dose maintenance prednisone therapy may modify the course of post-transplant HBV reinfection by leading to less viral replication, milder HBV-related liver disease and better patient survival.

PMID:
7608474
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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