Addressing hepatitis delta in primary care practices in the US: a narrative review

Tatyana Kushner, Richard R. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Infection with the hepatitis delta virus (HDV), a unique RNA virus that requires hepatitis B virus (HBV) antigens for its assembly, replication, and transmission, causes severe viral hepatitis. Compared to HBV monoinfection, HDV infection increases the risk of severe liver disease, necessity for liver transplant, and mortality. Global HDV prevalence estimates vary from 5% to 15% among persons with HBV, but screening guidelines for HDV are inconsistent; some recommend risk-based screening, while others recommend universal screening for all people with HBV. Among primary care providers (PCPs) in the US, there is a lack of awareness and/or insufficient adherence to current recommendations for the screening of HDV infection and management of chronic HDV. Methods: Publications were obtained by conducting literature searches between July and August 2022 using the PubMed database and by manual searches of the retrieved literature for additional references. Information was synthesized to highlight HDV screening and management strategies for PCPs. Best practices for PCPs based on current guidelines and comanagement strategies for patients with HBV and HDV infection were summarized. Results: We recommend universal screening for HDV in patients positive for hepatitis B surface antigen. Confirmed HDV infection should prompt evaluation by a liver specialist, if available, with whom the PCP can comanage the patient. PCPs should counsel patients on the expected course of the disease, lifestyle factors that may influence liver health, need for consistent disease monitoring and follow-up, and risk of disease transmission. Screening is suggested for sexual partners, household contacts, and family members, with HBV immunization recommended for those found to be susceptible. There are currently no US Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies for HDV infection; thus, management is limited to treatments for chronic HBV infection plus long-term monitoring of liver health. Conclusions: PCPs can be a valuable point of care for patients to access HDV/HBV screening, HBV immunization, and education, and can comanage patients with HBV and/or HDV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-820
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Volume40
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Hepatitis B
  • family practice
  • hepatitis delta
  • physicians’ practice patterns

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