Occult Hepatitis B virus infection is defined as the detection of Hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid in the serum or liver tissue of individuals who test negative for Hepatitis B surface antigen.
Dr Kirti Shetty and colleagues from the USA undertook a prospective study to evaluate occult Hepatitis B virus in patients with Hepatitis C virus cirrhosis undergoing orthotopic liver transplantation.
|Based on positive hepatic Hep B virus deoxyribonucleic acid, the prevalence was 50%|
A sensitive real-time polymerase chain reaction assay was utilized to test for serum Hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid at enrollment and for hepatic Hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid within the explant liver.
The team followed patients with serum Hepatitis B surface antigen and Hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid post-orthotopic liver transplantation.
A total of 56 patients with Hepatitis C virus cirrhosis were enrolled between 2002 and 2004.
Of these, 44 underwent orthotopic liver transplantation.
The team found that the overall prevalence of occult Hepatitis B virus based on positive serum Hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid was 28%.
The researchers noted that, based on positive hepatic Hepatitis B virus deoxyribonucleic acid, the prevalence was 50%.
The presence of serum Hepatitis B core antibody and a past history of injection drug use correlated with occult Hepatitis B virus.
Explant-proven hepatocellular carcinoma was found in 59% of patients with occult Hepatitis B virus liver compared.
The team identified explant-proven hepatocellular carcinoma in 36% of patients without occult Hepatitis B virus liver.
Post-orthotopic liver transplantation, no cases of Hepatitis B virus reactivation were noted.
The research team observed no significant association between occult Hepatitis B virus and recurrent Hepatitis C virus.
Dr Shetty's team concluded, "Occult Hepatitis B virus is far more prevalent in patients with end-stage Hepatitis C virus than would be expected from its prevalence in the general population."
"Occult Hepatitis B virus infection is strongly associated with the presence of anti-Hepatitis C, history of injection drug use, and explant-proven hepatocellular carcinoma."