1Viral Hepatitis Registry, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, Oakland, CA, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Few population-based studies have described characteristics and management of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in the USA.
We retrospectively studied adults with CHB in the Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program (KPNC) from July 2009 to December 2010 (n = 12,016). Laboratory tests, treatment patterns, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) surveillance were ascertained during a "recent" 18-month study window (July 2009-December 2010), or as "ever" based on records dating to 1995.
The mean age was 49 years; 51 % were men, 83 % Asian, and 87 % KPNC members >5 years. Overall, 51 % had ≥1 liver-related visit, 14 % with gastroenterology or infectious disease specialists, and 37 % with primary care providers (PCP) only. Less than 40 % of patients had both hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA and ALT testing conducted recently, while 56 % of eligible patients had received HCC surveillance. Recent laboratory testing and HCC surveillance were more frequent in patients seen by a specialist versus PCP only (90 vs. 47 % and 92 vs. 73 %, respectively, p values <0.001). During the study period, 1,649 (14 %) received HBV treatment, while 5 % of untreated patients had evidence of treatment eligibility. Among 599 patients newly initiated on HBV therapy, 76 % had guideline-based indications for treatment.
Most patients initiated on HBV treatment met eligibility, and very few patients with evidence of needing treatment were left untreated. However, monitoring of ALT and HBV DNA levels, as well as HCC surveillance, were not frequent, underestimating the proportion of patients that warranted HBV therapy. Viral monitoring and cancer surveillance are therefore important targets for improving the scope of CHB care in the community setting.