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Liver Transplant for Hepatitis B

Topic Overview

During a liver transplant, a surgeon removes your damaged liver. That liver is replaced with a healthy one from an organ donor.

Liver transplants are done to treat long-term (chronic) hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection only after all other treatments have not worked. That's because transplanted organs can become reinfected with HBV.

  • Infections that come back are often severe. This can lead to rapid failure of the transplanted liver.
  • High doses of hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) are given to try to prevent reinfection.
  • Short-term pre- and post-transplant therapy with a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) may help prevent reinfection of a transplanted liver. NRTIs include entecavir, lamivudine, and tenofovir.1 Interferon and peginterferon are not used to prevent reinfection.1

Liver transplants are most often done at large medical centers. Transplants are very expensive.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Malet PF (2008). Chronic hepatitis. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 4, chap. 8. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Current as of June 4, 2014

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