Hepatitis B recurrence remains a major problem facing liver transplantation programs. The risk of infection varies depending upon the HBV load. High doses of HBIg may reduce the risk of occurrence but it remains expensive. Finally, apparently new infections may occur posttransplantation, which may have been transmitted by organs or blood from HBsAg (-), HBcAb (+) donors, or may reflect reactivation of latent infections in patients who were HBsAg (-). HCV infections are common in patients undergoing liver transplantation, and HCV infection recurs in >90% of patients; however, recurrent hepatitis C occurs in less than half of these patients. HCV is not an important cause of fulminant non-A, non-B hepatitis, but appears to be the most common cause of posttransplant hepatitis. So what is in the future? For hepatitis B, we still believe the efficacy of HBIg, and in which patients with hepatitis B HBIg should be used, remains to be defined. The effects of antivirals on posttransplant hepatitis B, as well as in prevention of HBV recurrence, also remain to be determined. In the United States, insurance companies are likely to play an important role in determining the future of transplantation for hepatitis B. Medicare recently excluded patients who were HBsAg (+) from coverage for liver transplantation, and a number of private insurers have subsequently followed suit. For HCV, newer screening tests for the virus are likely to decrease the rate of HCV acquisition following liver transplantation, from the current 35% incidence of HCV acquisition. The impact of antiviral treatment on posttransplant hepatitis remains to be determined and deserves study. Finally, the development of regimens that might allow prevention of recurrent HCV infections in patients undergoing liver transplantation also should be a matter of future study.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1993|