Key Points

  • 1
    Hepatitis B virus replication is associated with a severe outcome in patients with decompensated cirrhosis.
  • 2
    Viral suppression induced by antivirals results in a clinical improvement that allows liver transplantation to be delayed or avoided.
  • 3
    Early treatment intervention is mandatory in patients with decompensated cirrhosis because of the delay in the restoration of liver functions.
  • 4
    Lamivudine is no longer the drug of choice because the initial enthusiasm has been tempered by the high rate of resistance development.
  • 5
    Early add-on therapy with adefovir allows us to rescue lamivudine resistance, but its use may be limited by nephrotoxicity.
  • 6
    Studies are ongoing with the newer generation of antivirals (telbivudine, tenofovir, entecavir, and emtricitabine) in monotherapy or in combination to determine the best strategy for achieving rapid and prolonged suppression of viral replication. These improved strategies should enhance treatment success enough to obtain clinical stabilization, to delay or prevent the need for transplantation, and to reduce the risk of hepatitis B virus recurrence on the graft.

Liver Transpl 14:S1–S7, 2008. © 2008 AASLD.