BackgroundHepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is common with major clinical consequences. In Asian Americans, the HBsAg carrier rate ranges from 2% to 16% which approximates the rates from their countries of origin. Similarly, HBV is the most important cause of cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver related deaths in HBsAg positive Asians worldwide.
AimTo generate recommendations for the management of Asian Americans infected with HBV.
MethodsThese guidelines are based on relevant data derived from medical reports on HBV from Asian countries as well as from studies in the HBsAg positive Asian Americans. The guidelines herein differ from other recommendations in the treatment of both HBeAg positive and negative chronic hepatitis B (CHB), in the approach to HCC surveillance, and in the management of HBV in pregnant women.
ResultsAsian American patients, HBeAg positive or negative, with HBV DNA levels >2000 IU/mL (>104 copies/mL) and ALT values above normal are candidates for anti-viral therapy. HBeAg negative patients with HBV DNA >2000 IU/mL and normal ALT levels but who have either serum albumin <3.5 g/dL or platelet count <130 000 mm3 , basal core promoter (BCP) mutations, or who have first-degree relatives with HCC should be offered treatment. Patients with cirrhosis and detectable HBV DNA must receive life-long anti-viral therapy. Indications for treatment include pregnant women with high viraemia, coinfected patients, and those requiring immunosuppressive therapy. In HBsAg positive patients with risk factors, life-long surveillance for HCC with alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) testing and abdominal ultrasound examination at 6-month intervals is required. In CHB patients receiving HCC treatments, repeat imaging with contrast CT scan or MRI at 3-month intervals is strongly recommended. These guidelines have been assigned to a Class (reflecting benefit vs. risk) and a Level (assessing strength or certainty) of evidence.
ConclusionsApplication of the recommendations made based on a review of the relevant literature and the opinion of a panel of Asian American physicians with expertise in HBV treatment will inform physicians and improve patient outcomes.