Liver Transplant for Hepatitis B

Topic Overview

During a liver transplant, your damaged liver is removed and replaced with a healthy one from an organ donor.

Liver transplantation is done to treat long-term (chronic) hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection only after all other treatments have not worked, because transplanted organs can become reinfected with HBV.

  • Recurrent infections are often severe, leading to rapid failure of the transplanted liver.
  • High doses of hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) are given to try to prevent reinfection.
  • Short-term pre- and post-transplantation therapy with a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), such as entecavir, lamivudine, and tenofovir, may help prevent reinfection of a transplanted liver.1
  • Interferon and peginterferon are not used to prevent reinfection of a transplanted liver.1

Liver transplants typically are done at large medical centers. Transplantation is very expensive.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Malet PF (2008). Chronic hepatitis. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 4, chap. 8. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Last Revised October 29, 2012

Last Revised: October 29, 2012

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