Review of the use of hepatitis B core antibody-positive kidney donors.
This article reviews the risks of transplanting hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc)-positive (+) kidneys and strategies to minimize the risks to the recipient. In the United States, there is a shortage of kidneys available for transplantation. Presently, 4% of kidneys transplanted are anti-HBc (+). In published retrospective studies, the serologic conversion rate for recipients of anti-HBc (+) kidneys varied between 0% and 27%; and the development of elevated hepatic transaminases varied between 0% and 26%. Only one published article had a trend toward increased risk of graft loss. Other published studies had no significant difference in graft or patient survival. Factors that influence the risk of transmission include hepatitis B viral load, vaccination, and antiviral therapy. If the donor is anti-HBc (+) and hepatitis B DNA negative, the risk of transmission is negligible; unfortunately, this information may not be available at the time of transplant. Vaccinated recipients with a protective hepatitis B surface antibody of at least 10 mIU/mL had a 4% conversion rate compared with 10% in recipients with antibody levels not exceeding 10 mIU/mL. Both hepatitis B immunoglobulin and lamivudine have been used in recipients of anti-HBc (+) kidneys to decrease seroconversion with success. The data do support the use of anti-HBc (+) kidneys if precautions are taken. The recipients should be informed of the risk, should be vaccinated with an adequate response, and should have surveillance serologies performed.
Ouseph, R; Eng, M; Ravindra, K; Brock, GN; Buell, JF; Marvin, MR
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