Liver Transplant for Hepatitis B

Topic Overview

During a liver transplant, a surgeon removes your damaged liver. That liver is replaced with a healthy one from an organ donor.

Liver transplants are done to treat long-term (chronic) hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection only after all other treatments have not worked. That's because transplanted organs can become reinfected with HBV.

  • Infections that come back are often severe. This can lead to rapid failure of the transplanted liver.
  • High doses of hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) are given to try to prevent reinfection.
  • Short-term pre- and post-transplant therapy with a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) may help prevent reinfection of a transplanted liver. NRTIs include entecavir, lamivudine, and tenofovir.1 Interferon and peginterferon are not used to prevent reinfection.1

Liver transplants are most often done at large medical centers. Transplants are very expensive.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Malet PF (2008). Chronic hepatitis. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 4, chap. 8. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Thomas London, MD - Hepatology
Current as of June 4, 2014

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker