Liver transplantation in acute liver failure due to Hepatitis B. Two clinical cases

Ann Hepatol. 2021 Mar-Apr:21:100107. doi: 10.1016/j.aohep.2019.06.012. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) related acute liver failure (ALF) is uncommon in our region, and there is limited HBV literature regarding the optimal management of these cases. In this article, we report two clinical cases of young men who have sex with men (MSM), both developed severe acute hepatitis caused by HBV, progressed to ALF and afterward required liver transplantation. Antiviral post-transplant treatment included entecavir without Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG), and immunosuppression therapy with steroids, tacrolimus, and mycophenolate. Serologic follow-up showed early Hepatitis B surface Antigen (HBsAg) seroconversion, undetectable HBV viral load, and positive Anti-HBs titers. During later follow-up, Anti-HBs titers gradually fell (<10mUI/L after six months), with normal liver function. DISCUSSION: In cases of HBV-related ALF, the liver develops a robust immune response, leading to, an early undetectable viral load and seroconversion, with loss of HBsAg, and the appearance of Anti-HBs as a result of the inflammatory response. The management varies depending on whether this is a de novo acute infection or a reactivation of a previous chronic infection. In both cases, the use of antiviral therapy is recommended, with entecavir or tenofovir, among others, but the use of specific HBIG is supported only in ALF related to chronic HBV infection. The optimal length of the antiviral therapy after liver transplantation is still under discussion. CONCLUSION: These cases of HBV related ALF with an early HBsAg seroconversion demonstrates the relevance of requesting IgM antibody against hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc IgM) for the etiological study of ALF with negative HBsAg. Usage of HBIG does not seem essential during the post-transplantation period in these cases.

Keywords: Acute liver failure; Hepatitis B; Liver transplantation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Hepatitis B / complications*
  • Hepatitis B / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Failure, Acute / etiology
  • Liver Failure, Acute / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation / methods*
  • Male