Hepatitis B disease in dialysis and transplant patients. Further epidemiologic and serologic studies

Transplantation. 1987 Sep;44(3):369-76. doi: 10.1097/00007890-198709000-00009.


As hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in renal transplant recipients is associated with a high incidence of progressive liver disease it may be inadvisable to transplant hemodialysis patients with hepatitis B antigenemia. To determine the natural history of HBV disease in hemodialysis patients, all 49 patients on hemodialysis treatment for at least 1 year, at 3 centers, who developed circulating hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAG), were studied. A subgroup of these patients (n = 31) aged less than or equal to 50 years, followed for 55 +/- 6 months after detection of HBsAg was compared with 22 previously studied HBsAg-positive transplant patients followed for 81 +/- 9 months. Significantly more transplant patients developed chronic hepatitis defined biochemically (P less than .001) and none of the transplant patients became HBsAg-negative compared with 19% of the hemodialysis group. Taking difference in follow-up into account, mortality was significantly higher in the transplant recipients (P less than .005) following development of HBsAg antigenemia, and the mortality difference was attributable to deaths from liver disease. A total of 36 serum samples from 14 of the 22 HBsAg-positive renal transplant recipients was analyzed for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg), antibody to hepatitis D virus (anti-HD), and hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid (HBVDNA) concentration. No serum sample was anti-HD-positive. Twelve of the 14 patients were HBeAg-positive. Five patients became HBeAg-negative, 3 of whom developed aggressive liver disease. One HBeAg-negative anti-HBe-positive patient had progression of liver disease from asymptomatic carrier status to chronic active hepatitis (CAH). Of 14 patients, 9 developed progressive CAH. HBVDNA concentration was not diagnostic of disease activity on liver biopsy. However only 1 sample of 10 measured in 5 patients with nonprogressive disease had a level greater than 100 pg/L, compared with 9 of 17 in the group who progressed to CAH. During the interval when the liver histology progressed from asymptomatic carriage or chronic persistent hepatitis (CPH) to CAH, the HBVDNA concentration increased by greater than 10 times baseline in 4 of 5 patients who had serial samples, whereas this did not occur in 4 patients with nonprogressive disease. We conclude that the long-term outcome of hepatitis B infection in transplant recipients is significantly worse than in hemodialysis patients. Therefore it may be inadvisable to transplant HBsAg-positive hemodialysis patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Hepatitis B / complications*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis D / complications
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / complications
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens