PURPOSE: Recurrence of hepatitis B virus after a liver transplantation (OLT) is a risk factor affecting graft and patient survivals. Short-term hepatitis B virus reactivation rates after OLT range between 3% and 15%. Using combination prophylaxis, the outcomes of OLT among patients with liver disease related to hepatitis B virus have improved to levels comparable to those whose disease is not related to hepatitis B virus.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Since September 2001, we performed 288 OLT in 282 patients including 74 who had liver failure related to hepatitis B virus among whom 58 were followed for >12 months and analyzed retrospectively. Our protocol included lamivudine (100 mg orally per day beginning the day after surgery) and hepatitis B immunoglobulin (10,000 IU IV during the anhepatic phase, 2000 IU/d IV during the first week after surgery, 2000 IU IV/month from postoperative months 1 to 12). Using our protocol, the anti-hepatitis B surface antibodies (HBsAb) serum titer was maintained up to 100 IU/mL. The female:male ratio was 11:47. The mean age of patients was 43 ± 12.8 years.
RESULTS: Five patients died of causes unrelated to hepatitis B virus. At the time of death, their hepatitis B surface antigens were negative, and serum titers of anti-HBsAb were 45, 35.3, 56.4, 79.6, and 123 IU/mL. Mean follow-up was 46.5 ± 18.9 months (range, 12-79). The hepatitis B surface antigen became positive in 4 patients; the remaining 49 had no evidence of hepatitis B surface antigen. In 18 patients, serum titer of anti-hepatitis B surface antigen was 0; in the remaining 31 patients, it was 69.2 ± 133 IU/mL.
CONCLUSION: Our combination protocol with hepatitis B immunoglobulin and lamivudine is a safe, cost-saving, and effective treatment for hepatitis B virus prophylaxis after liver transplantation.