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Hemopoietic stem cell transplantation, Virus Hepatitis, Antiviral Agents
Abstract: Infections with Hepatitis viruses B and C pose major problems both short and long term respectively after HSCT. The key to prevention for Hepatitis B disease remains vaccination for HBV-naïve patients and judicial use of anti-viral therapy in both pre- and post-transplant settings for HBV-infected patients. HBsAg positive grafts to HBV-naïve recipients result in transmission of the virus in about 50%. The newer anti-viral agents have enabled effective treatment of post-transplant patients who might be lamivudine-resistant or might develop so. Selecting a previously infected donor who has high titres of surface antibody for HBsAg positive patients gives the best chance for immunological clearance. The most challenging aspect of preventing HBV reactivation remains the duration of anti-viral therapy and timing of its withdrawal as most reactivations and often fatal ones occur after this period. Hepatitis C, on the other hand affects long-term survival with early onset of fibrosis and cirrhosis. Early effect of Hepatitis C virus on the immune system remains conjectural. The standard combination therapy seems to be effective, but data on this front remains sparse, as in the case of the use of newer antiviral agents. HSCT from HCV infected grafts result in more consistent transmission of the virus and pre-donation treatment of donors should be undertaken to render them non-viremic, if possible. The current understanding and recommendations regarding prevention and management of these infections in HSCT recipients are discussed.