, Volume 397, Issue 5, pp 697-710
Date: 02 May 2011

The role of HBIg as hepatitis B reinfection prophylaxis following liver transplantation

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Background and introduction

Without adequate prophylaxis, liver transplantation (LTx) is frequently followed by hepatitis B virus (HBV) reinfection, which results in rapidly progressing liver disease and significantly decreased overall survival. In the last two decades, significant progress has been made in the prophylaxis and treatment of HBV.


We present an overview of different protocols and regimens used for prophylaxis of HBV reinfection after LTx and describe the protocol implemented at our center. Following LTx, HBV reinfection can be effectively prevented by administration of anti-hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIg) alone or more recently in combination with antiviral nucleoside/nucleotide analogs (NUCs). Several studies reported good results with the use of HBIg alone, but combination treatment with HBIg and NUCs has proven to be a superior prophylactic regimen for HBV recurrence. At present, combination therapy (HBIg and a nucleoside or nucleotide analog) is the gold standard used in many transplantation centers. This preventive regimen reduces the risk of a recurrence of HBV infection and thereby the need for re-transplantation. Future and ongoing studies will show how long HBIg must be given after transplantation, especially when used in combination with potent antivirals, such as entecavir or tenofovir.