Liver transplant patients got hepatitis B from their donors
HBV (hepatitis B virus) was discovered in patients receiving liver transplants, even though donors had a negative test for this virus.
Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) that affects the liver; it is a type of viral hepatitis. It can cause both acute and chronic infections. Many people have no symptoms during the initial infection.
From 2014 to 2019, there have been some reports of 20 patients who got infected with HBV after receiving liver transplants from donors who had no evidence of HBV.
The increase in HBV donor-derived infections reported in 2019 among liver recipients might be related to increased numbers of donors with hepatitis C infection or recent injection drug use," Bixler told
For years liver transplantation was the best way to treat chronic HBV-related liver failure and even carcinoma but the rebirth of HBV post-transplantation remains a clinical challenge affecting survival, the authors noted.
"In addition to testing for HBV DNA at 4-6 weeks after transplantation, clinicians caring for liver transplant recipients should consider testing for HBV DNA 1 year after transplantation or at any time if signs and symptoms of viral hepatitis develop, even if previous tests were negative," Bixler and coauthors stated.
CDC looked into 30 suspected cases of unexpected HBV infections among liver recipients from 2014 to 2019. It turned out some of the patients had false-positive test alarms and the rest had donors who were addicted to drugs.
Eleven of these donors had both an injection drug use history and confirmed positive toxicology. Stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines, were the most commonly used drug in donors.
These findings suggest that donor injection drug use is an important risk factor for hepatitis B infection in liver transplant receivers.