De novo hepatitis b prophylaxis with hepatitis B virus vaccine and hepatitis B immunoglobulin in pediatric recipients of core antibody–positive livers

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Abstract

The use of hepatitis B core antibody–positive (HBcAb+) grafts for liver transplantation (LT) has the potential to safely expand the donor pool, as long as proper prophylaxis against de novo hepatitis B (DNHB) is employed. The aim of this study was to characterize the longterm outcome of pediatric LT recipients of HBcAb+ liver grafts under a prophylaxis regimen against DNHB using hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine and hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG). From June 1996 to February 2013, 49 patients receiving pediatric LT at our center were from HBcAb+ donors. Forty-one patients who received DNHB prophylaxis according to our protocol were included in this analysis. Our DNHB prophylaxis protocol consists of HBV vaccine intramuscular injections given intermittently to maintain anti–hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) titers above 100 IU/L. HBIG was also used during the first posttransplant year with a target anti-HBsAb titer level above 200 IU/L. There were 19 boys and 22 girls. Median age was 1.0 year (range, 4 months to 16 years). Median follow-up time was 66 months after transplant. Median annual number of HBV vaccine injections was 0.8 per year (range, 0–1.8 per year). Four patients did not require any HBV vaccine injections during follow-up. One patient with DNHB was encountered during the follow-up period (1/41, 2.4%). DNHB was diagnosed at 3.5 years after transplant, when hepatitis B surface antigen was positive upon routine follow-up serologic testing. Anti-HBsAb titer was 101.5 IU/L at the time. No grafts were lost because of DNHB-related events. Overall survival of the 41 recipients of HBcAb+ grafts who received DNHB prophylaxis was 92.3% at 10 years after transplant. In conclusion, longterm prophylaxis against DNHB with HBV vaccine in pediatric LT recipients of HBcAb+ grafts was safe and effective in terms of DNHB incidence as well as graft and patient survival. Liver Transpl 22:247–251, 2016. © 2015 AASLD.

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