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13 September 2019 : Original article  

Hepatitis B Vaccination in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis Evaluated for Liver Transplantation – A Simple Intervention Ensures High Adherence

Toni Herta1ABCDE, David Petroff2C, Cornelius Engelmann1B, Adam Herber1B, Niklas Aehling1B, Uwe Scheuermann3B, Michael Bartels4B, Daniel Seehofer3B, Thomas Berg1B, Johannes Wiegand1ABCDE*

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.917198

Ann Transplant 2019; 24:527-531


BACKGROUND: There is an unmet need to improve the HBV vaccination status in patients with chronic liver diseases. Primary care physicians and outpatient hepatologists often fail to vaccinate as recommended. Thus, new strategies to improve the HBV vaccination rate are required.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study was performed in a cohort of patients with chronic liver diseases evaluated for liver transplantation. Vaccination status was taken from the patients’ vaccination cards. HBsAg-, anti-HBc-, and anti-HBs-negative individuals were vaccinated against HBV at hospital discharge, and subsequent outpatient completion of the standard vaccination protocol was recommended in detail in the discharge letter. At months 2 and 8, titer controls were performed, and completion of vaccination was evaluated.

RESULTS: We prospectively recruited 37 patients. At baseline, the vaccination rate against HBV was 24% (N=9/37), and 3/9 HBV vaccinated patients presented with an anti-HBs-titer >10 IU/L. Thus, N=34 were vaccinated with Engerix® or Twinrix®. We evaluated 26/34 patients at month 2 and 10/26 again at month 8. The second vaccine dose was obtained by 21/26 (80%) of the patients seen at month 2, and 9/10 (90%) seen at month 8 obtained the third vaccine dose by primary care physicians or ambulant hepatologists. Only 2 patients presented with an anti-HBs-titer >10 IU/L at month 8.

CONCLUSIONS: Initiation of HBV vaccination during hospitalization and detailed recommendations on subsequent vaccinations in the discharge letter improve previously inadequate vaccination rates in the outpatient setting. Similar measures should be implemented at earlier time points of chronic liver diseases to achieve higher immune response rates.

Keywords: End stage liver disease, Hepatitis B Antibodies, Vaccination, Aged, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B Surface Antigens, Liver Cirrhosis, Liver Transplantation, Middle Aged, Patient Compliance, Prospective Studies, Viral Hepatitis Vaccines

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358