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e Antigen in Hepatitis B Virus Infected Dialysis Patients: Assessment of Its Prognostic Value

BARBARA G. WERNER, Ph.D.; and BARUCH S. BLUMBERG, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


© 1978 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1978;89(3):310-314. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-89-3-310
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Many investigators consider the presence of e antigen (HBeAg) valuable in predicting which patients with acute hepatitis B are at risk of remaining infected and developing chronic liver disease. We tested this hypothesis in a retrospective study of serial samples from patients undergoing long-term hemodialysis. We found HBeAg in the early phase of all hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. There was no significant difference between transiently and persistently hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive persons with regard to the frequency of HBeAg during the first 3 months of HBs antigenemia. Thus during the early period of viral activity, the presence of HBeAg is of no prognostic value in determining chronicity of HBV infection. We believe the disagreement on the prognostic value of HBeAg is a reflection of variations in time and frequency of sampling. The HBeAg remains, however, a useful indicator of potential infectivity of HBsAg(+) persons.

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