Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gastroenterology. 1994 Apr;106(4):1000-5.

A long-term follow-up study of asymptomatic hepatitis B surface antigen-positive carriers in Montreal.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Hôpital Saint-Luc, Montreal, Canada.



Prospective studies from the Far East and Alaska have shown an increased mortality from cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma in asymptomatic hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers. The magnitude of this risk in apparently healthy North American carriers remains undefined.


The outcomes of 317 asymptomatic hepatitis B surface antigen-positive carriers from the Montreal area were examined after 16 years of follow-up. A majority of carriers were of French Canadian origin, were positive for antibody to hepatitis B e antigen, and had normal serum transaminase levels; institutionalization in orphanages as infants or children was the most important epidemiological risk factor, suggesting horizontal transmission of HBV during childhood.


At follow-up, mean age was 46 +/- 8 years; 3 carriers had died of HBV-related cirrhosis, 1 of alcoholic cirrhosis, and 9 of causes unrelated to liver disease. No carrier died of hepatocellular carcinoma; had the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma been similar to that reported from the Far East and Alaska, 17 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma-related deaths would have been expected. During follow-up, the annual negativation rate for hepatitis B surface antigen was 0.7%.


In asymptomatic HBV carriers from Montreal, a majority are "healthy" carriers and remain asymptomatic after 16 years of follow-up and the risk of death from HBV-related cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma is low.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center