Fatal lactic acidosis in hepatitis B virus-associated decompensated cirrhosis treated with tenofovir: A case report

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Recently tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) has been widely used as a first-line therapy for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) infection. Although TDF demonstrates successful viral suppression, the possibility of renal failure and lactic acidosis has been proposed with TDF administration, especially in human immunodeficiency virus co-infected patients. However, TDF induced lactic acidosis has never been reported in CHB mono-infected patients.

Patient concerns:

A 59-year-old man received TDF for hepatitis B associated with cirrhosis. After ten days of TDF administration, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain developed. High anion gap acidosis with elevated lactate level (pH 7.341, pCO2 29.7 mmHg, HCO3- 15.6mmHg, lactate 3.2mmol/L, anion gap 15.4 mEq/L) was developed.


With no infection, normal diagnostic paracentesis, and urinalysis together with high anion gap and increased blood lactate levels suggested lactic acidosis.


TDF was stopped, and haemodialysis was performed to control lactic acidosis.


Although stopping TDF instantly and treating lactic acidosis using hemodialysis, the patient died.


Although, Fatal lactic acidosis is very rare in TDF patient, however, decompensated cirrhotic patients should be closely observed to keep the possibility of lactic acidosis in mind.

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