Important innovations, such as hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and lamivudine, have been introduced to the care of patients undergoing liver transplantation (OLT) for viral hepatitis B (HBV) (over the last 15 years). We analyzed survival of OLT recipients with HBV in the United States to examine the effect of these innovations. A retrospective analysis was conducted based on data collected prospectively by the United Network for Organ Sharing in all adult (older than 18) patients undergoing primary OLT in the United States between 1987 and 2002. OLT recipients with HBV were identified by the principal diagnosis of acute or chronic HBV or positive results on HBV markers. Patients were divided into Era 1 (1987-1991), Era 2 (1992-1996), and Era 3 (1997-2002). Era 1 consisted of 6,708 patients (675 with HBV), Era 2 consisted of 13,995 patients (1,005 with HBV), and Era 3 consisted of 20,730 patients (1,723 with HBV). More recent patients were older and had less advanced liver disease and shorter ischemic time. The survival of patients with HBV was significantly better for Era 2 than for Era 1 (P < .01) and for Era 3 than for Era 2 (P < .01). There was no difference in survival between patients with HBV and all other diagnoses for Era 3 (P = .14). In the multivariable analysis, the effect of these eras persisted when other variables such as recipient and donor age, warm ischemic time, pre-OLT disease severity, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) were taken into account. Unlike previous reports, fulminant disease and Asian race had no effect on patient survival. In conclusion, these data underscore the effectiveness of therapeutic innovations that have occurred in the past two decades and indicate timely and widespread adoption of these measures by transplant centers nationwide.
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