Transplant Institute, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liver transplant recipients are at an increased risk for liver failure when infected with hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). Therefore, it is important to vaccinate these individuals. The aim of the study was to evaluate how well liver transplanted patients in our unit were protected against HAV and HBV infection. Furthermore we investigated the vaccination rate and the antibody response to vaccination in these liver transplanted patients.
Patients liver transplanted from January 2007 until August 2010 with a posttransplant check-up during the period March-November 2010 were included (n = 51). Information considering diagnose, date of transplantation, Child-Pugh score, and vaccination were collected from the patient records. Anti-HAV IgG and anti-HBs titers in serum samples were analyzed and protective levels were registered.
Of the patients 45% were protected against hepatitis A infection and 29% against hepatitis B infection after transplantation. Only 26% were vaccinated according to a complete vaccination schedule and these patients had a vaccine response for HAV and HBV of 50% and 31%, respectively. An additional 31% received ≥1 doses of vaccine, but not a complete vaccination and the vaccine response was much lower among these patients, stressing the importance of completing the vaccination schedule.
Even when patients were fully vaccinated, they did not respond to the same degree as healthy individuals. Patients seemed to be more likely to respond to a vaccination if they had a lower Child-Pugh score, suggesting that patients should be vaccinated as early as possible in the course of their liver disease.