Liver Transplant Unit, Multi-Organ Transplant Program, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG), given in combination with nucleos(t)ide therapy, has reduced the rate of recurrent hepatitis B virus (HBV) following liver transplantation (LT), although the most effective protocol is unknown. We have retrospectively evaluated the use of long-term nucleos(t)ide analog in combination with one yr of low-dose HBIG. One hundred and fifty-two adults with HBV-related liver disease underwent LT in our center from January 1999 to August 2009; of these, 132 patients who received one yr of HBIG combined with long-term nucleos(t)ide analogs (largely on lamivudine [LAM] alone, n = 97) afterward were included for the purposes of this study. Median follow-up post-transplantation was 1752 d. Patient survival was 93.9%, 86.9% and 84.1% at 1, 5, and 10 yr, respectively; none of the 17 deceased patients had recurrent HBV. HBV recurrence was observed in nine patients (all received LAM+HBIG), yielding recurrence rates of 2.3%, 5.1%, and 8.6% at 1, 3, and 5/10 yr, respectively. All recurrences were successfully managed, usually with additional antiviral treatment. In conclusion, this study, with its long-term follow-up, demonstrates that short course of low-dose HBIG (without anti-HBs monitoring) combined with the use of long-term nucleos(t)ide analog is effective and less cumbersome than many protocols in current use.