Objective: To assess risk factors for liver-related death, we re-evaluated, after a median follow-up of 25 years, a cohort of 70 Caucasian patients with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive chronic hepatitis (CH) at presentation.
Methods: Follow-up studies included clinical and ultrasound examinations, biochemical and virological tests, and cause of death.
Results: Sixty-one (87%) patients underwent spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion. During a median period of 22.8 years after HBeAg seroclearance, 40 (66%) patients became inactive carriers, whereas the remaining 21 (34%) showed alanine aminotransferase elevation: one (1%) had HBeAg reversion, nine (15%) detectable serum HBV DNA but were negative for HBeAg, eight (13%) concurrent virus(es) infection and three (5%) concurrent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Liver-related death occurred in 11 (15.7%) patients, caused by hepatocellular carcinoma in five and liver failure in six. The 25-year survival probability was 40% in patients persistently HBeAg positive, 50% in patients with HBeAg negative CH or HBeAg reversion and 95% in inactive carriers. Older age, male sex, cirrhosis at entry and absence of sustained remission predicted liver-related death independently. The adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) for liver related death were 33 (3.01–363) for persistently HBeAg positive patients and 38.73 (4.65–322) for those with HBeAg negative CH or HBeAg reversion relative to inactive carriers.
Conclusion: Most patients with HBeAg seroconversion became inactive carriers with very good prognosis. The risk of liver-related mortality in Caucasian adults with CH is strongly related with sustained disease activity and ongoing high level of HBV replication independently of HBeAg status.
- hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion, sustained alanine aminotransferase normalisation
- inactive carrier
- HBeAg negative hepatitis
- sustained HBV replication
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Funding: This study was partially supported by the MURST 60% 2005 of the University of Verona (GF, 2005)
Competing interests: None.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.