Background and Aims. The risk of recurrent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and prognosis of liver transplantation in patients with HBV has dramatically changed with the use of prophylaxis including hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIg) and antiviral agents.
Methods. This study analyzes the prognostic value of HBV DNA level before orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) and the effect of HBV prophylaxis on rates of HBV recurrence and survival. Between 1988 and 2008, 859 patients underwent OLT in our center; 60 patients had HBV-related liver disease and in 49, HBV DNA was determined by real time-PCR before OLT. Survival and HBV recurrence were analyzed according to preoperative viral load (HBV DNA <103 IU/mL vs. HBV DNA ≥103) and prophylaxis regimens (HBIg vs HBIg and antivirals).
Results. On multivariate analysis, prophylaxis with HBIg alone, but not HBV-DNA levels was independently associated with poor survival, with a relative risk (RR) of death of 6.5 (95% CI 2.1-19.8, P = 0.001). The risk of HBV recurrence, in this small series, was also associated
with monoprophylaxis with HBIg (RR 27, 95% CI 5.2-147.2, P < 0.0001), but not with HBV-DNA levels.
Conclusions. When prophylaxis with HBIg and antiviral agents was administered, survival and HBV recurrence were not influenced by HBV-DNA levels determined by real time-PCR prior to OLT.