Retrospective evaluation of the risk of hepatitis B virus reactivation after transplantation

B. T. Duhart, Marsha R. Honaker, M. H. Shokouh-Amiri, C. A. Riely, S. R. Vera, S. L. Taylor, A. H. Al-Jedai, A. O. Gaber

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Numerous case reports describe patients with previously documented immunity developing active hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection after transplantation. However, the risk of reactivation of HBV under long-term immunosuppression in hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb)-positive, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative transplant recipients has not been clearly described. Herein, we present a long-term follow-up for 49 HBcAb-positive, HBsAg-negative recipients (27 liver, 18 kidney, 4 pancreas) transplanted between June 1996 and April 2001. Among these, 37 recipients (76%) were HBsAb positive at transplantation. Immunosuppression consisted of various antibody induction regimens in 20 (41%) of the recipients with either tacrolimus (33 [67%])- or cyclosporine (16 [33%])-based maintenance immunosuppression. The incidence and duration of HBV prophylaxis was not significant. No patient received hepatitis B] immunoglobulin (HBIG) before or after transplantation. Additionally, only two patients received lamivudine, which was started post transplant without clinical indication. The mean length of follow-up was 3.1 ± 1.4 years. At the last follow-up, overall patient and graft survival were 98% and 96%, respectively. Patient survival was 96% in liver, 100% in kidney, and 100% in pancreas transplant recipients. The graft survival for each organ type was 93% in liver, 100% in kidney, and 75% in pancreas transplant recipients at the end of follow-up. There was no incidence of HBV reactivation defined as recurrence of HBsAg and/or HBV DNA positivity. These data suggest that the risk of reactivation of HBV in HBcAb-positive, HBsAg-negative transplant recipients under immunosuppression is negligible, regardless of immunosuppressive regimen, lamivudine prophylaxis, or HBsAb status. These patients should have access to transplantation as they enjoy excellent patient and graft survival rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003


  • HBV
  • Reactivation
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Immunology


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