Recurrent hepatitis B virus infection after liver transplantation performed for chronic hepatitis B with cirrhosis is influenced by a number of factors, including coinfection with the hepatitis D virus, the level of HBV replication, and administration of hepatitis B immune globulin. Another potentially important factor in modulating HBV infection after liver transplantation is the degree of immunosuppression post-transplant. We reviewed an institutional experience with liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B and analyzed the impact of using lower doses of corticosteroids on HBV reinfection, expression of recurrent HBV disease and patient survival.Of 17 patients undergoing liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B, 16 patients received variable doses of hepatitis B immune globulin for up to 6 months.Fifteen of the 16 patients remained HBsAg-negative during hepatitis B immune globulin therapy, but ultimately 13 of the 17 patients had HBV reinfection, including 3 of 4 patients with hepatitis D virus coinfection. Long-term survival (82%) of the 17 chronic hepatitis B patients was not different from the survival (75%) of 195 patients transplanted for other indications. Three of 13 patients who were reinfected died from chronic hepatitis B with liver failure. Reinfection did not appear to be related to the pretransplant degree of viral replication. Compared to an age- and sex-matched control group, patients undergoing liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B received less cumulative intravenous methylprednisolone and oral prednisone, but did not experience a higher rate of graft rejection.We postulate that use of lower doses of corticosteroids after liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis B is safe and not associated with a higher incidence of graft rejection. Moreover, low-dose maintenance prednisone therapy may modify the course of post-transplant HBV reinfection by leading to less viral replication, milder HBV-related liver disease and better patient survival.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995RL11200001
View details for PubMedID 7608474