Hepatitis delta virus testing, epidemiology and management: A multicentre cross-sectional study of patients in London

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Background: Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) testing is recommended for all patients with hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. HDV infection is associated with severe liver disease and interferon is the only available treatment. Objectives: To determine the rate of anti-HDV antibody testing in HBV patients; and to describe the epidemiology, clinical characteristics and management of HDV-infected patients at four hospitals in London. Study design: The anti-HDV testing rate was estimated by reviewing clinical and laboratory data. Cross-sectional data collection identified HDV-infected patients who had attended the study centres between 2005 and 2012. Results: At a centre with clinic-led anti-HDV testing, 40% (67/168) of HBV patients were tested. Recently diagnosed HBV patients were more likely to be screened than those under long-term follow-up (62% vs 36%, P= 0.01). At a centre with reflex laboratory testing, 99.4% (3543/3563) of first hepatitis B surface antigen positive samples were tested for anti-HDV. Across the four study centres there were 55 HDV-infected patients, of whom 50 (91%) had immigrated to the UK and 27 (49%) had evidence of cirrhosis. 31 patients received interferon therapy for HDV with an end of treatment virological response observed in 10 (32%). Conclusions: The anti-HDV testing rate was low in a centre with clinic-led testing, but could not be evaluated in all centres. The HDV-infected patients were of diverse ethnicity, with extensive histological evidence of liver disease and poor therapeutic responses. Future recommendations include reflex laboratory testing algorithms and a prospective cohort study to optimise the investigation and management of these patients.

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El Bouzidi, K., Elamin, W., Kranzer, K., Irish, D. N., Ferns, B., Kennedy, P., … Nastouli, E. (2015). Hepatitis delta virus testing, epidemiology and management: A multicentre cross-sectional study of patients in London. Journal of Clinical Virology, 66, 33–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2015.02.011

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