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Abstract

The enduring shortfall of organ donors has inspired the widespread utilization of hepatic allografts from donors with hepatitis B core antibodies in spite of the potential risk of transmitting hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection to the recipient. Here we report a protocol of naive recipients receiving livers from hepatitis B core antibody-positive donors. From November, 1999 to March, 2002, 77 liver transplantations were performed in 73 patients at our institution, 7 of whom received livers from hepatitis B core antibody-positive donors. All recipients received 10,000 U/d of intravenous HBIg for 7 days and 100 mg/d of lamivudine until we could obtain the HBV-DNA from the donor samples (serum and liver tissue). If the results of the HBV-DNA from the donor samples were positive, the patient would continue with prophylaxis and if they were negative we would finish the combined prophylaxis. After transplantation, HBV serologic markers and HBV-DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in serum and lymphocytes were tested in the recipients on the seventh, fifteenth, thirtieth, and ninetieth days as well as every 3 months after transplantation. All seven donor organs were negative for HBV-DNA in serum and liver tissue. Thus, we stopped the combined prophylaxis in all recipients (range, 7 to 10 days). None of the 7 patients developed de novo HBV infection over the 3-year study period (range, 9 to 36 months). Our approach is reasonably safe, and it appears to be very effective in the prevention of de novo HBV infection after liver transplantation