Dialysis patients remain at risk of acquiring hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The issue of the natural history of HBV among patients undergoing long-term dialysis remains unclear. Assessing the natural history of hepatitis B in patients on maintenance dialysis is problematic because of the unique characteristics of this population: serum aminotransferase activity is lower in dialysis patients compared with patients without renal disease; also, chronic hepatitis B has an insidious and prolonged natural history, and the competing mortality from complications of end-stage renal disease may obscure the long-term consequences of hepatitis B. HBV-related liver disease frequently runs an asymptomatic course in dialysis patients and the liver-related mortality in this population is very low; thus, the prognosis for chronic HBV infection in dialysis patients has been reported as benign. However, the frequency of liver cancer in dialysis patients appears higher than that observed in the general population, this has been related to a greater exposure to HBV/HCV. Cirrhosis is not a frequent comorbid condition in the dialysis population of industrialised countries, but the death rate for dialysis patients with cirrhosis is 35% higher than for those without it. In addition, it has been observed that liver disease remains a significant cause of mortality among HbsAg-positive carriers on dialysis in developing countries. The low viral load measured in dialysis patients with persistent HBsAg carriage could be accounted for by the relatively benign course of HBV-related liver disease in this population. Prospective clinical trials are under way to better define the virological features of HBV in the dialysis population.
|Translated title of the contribution||Natural history of HBV in dialysis population|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Giornale italiano di nefrologia : organo ufficiale della Società italiana di nefrologia|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2004|
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