“We found that in patients with hepatitis B, the number of patients who were listed for a second transplant within three years decreased by 50 percent between 1996 and 2005,” says Ray Kim, M.D., a member of the research team.
Hepatitis B infection is a major cause of liver damage that can eventually lead to end-stage liver disease and the need for a liver transplant. In the past, hepatitis B recurred in some transplant patients, causing liver damage and the need for a second transplant.
“In the past 10 years, new medications have improved our ability to control hepatitis B,” says Dr. Kim. Today, transplant recipients routinely are treated with antiviral therapy and hepatitis B immune globulin to reduce the risk of recurrence. “We wanted to know if the medications protocols were making a difference in patient outcomes,” he says.
Researchers reviewed data of 31,242 liver transplants in the United States which were provided by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. The underlying reasons for transplantation were categorized as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or other.
From 1996 to 1998, 6.5 percent of liver transplant patients with hepatitis B were listed for a second transplant. For 2003 to 2005, the number of liver transplant patients with hepatitis B listed for a second transplant was 3.3 percent — a roughly 50 percent reduction.
Below is a link to an edited youtube video with Dr. Kim.