Many High Risk Patients Not Screened for Hepatitis B Interview with:

Robert Wong MD, MS OakCare Medical Group Assistant Clinical Professor UCSF

Dr. Robert Wong

Robert Wong MD, MS
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
Director of Research and Education
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hepatitis B Virus infection is a leading cause of chronic liver disease leading to hepatocellular carcinoma and cirrhosis worldwide. Early detection of chronic HBV through implementation of effective screening programs can improve early treatment to reduce disease progression and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. Sub-optimal awareness of the importance of HBV screening among patients and providers and sub-optimal awareness of who constitutes as high risk may further contribute to low HBV screening rates. Our current study prospectively evaluated rates of HBV screening and awareness of HBV screening results among patients at high risk for chronic HBV among an ethnically diverse underserved safety-net hospital population.

Among nearly 900 patients that were evaluated, 62% were high risk and eligible for Hepatitis B screening. However, among this high risk population, less than 25% received HBV screening. Furthermore, among patients that have undergone previous HBV testing only 22% of patients were aware of those results. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study highlights the low rates of effective HBV screening among the community. This emphasizes the importance of improving both patient and provider knowledge abut the need for HBV screening in these high risk cohorts. Inadequate implementation of HBV screening among these high risk cohorts presents missed opportunities for early initiation of antiviral therapy to prevent HBV disease progression and risk of HBV-related HCC. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research should focus on identifying specific reasons that contribute to these suboptimal hepatitis B screening rates. Using this knowledge, educational interventions towards both patients and providers will help to improve the rates of effective HBV screening among high risk populations that may lead to decreased long-term HBV related disease morbidity and mortality. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Low Rates of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Screening and Low Rates of HBV Awareness Among High Risk Patients at a Large, Urban, Safety-Net Hospital
Brendan Campbell1, Justin Yu2, Rachel Baden3, Taft Bhuket1, Benny Liu1, Robert J. Wong1; 1Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA; 2Medicine, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA; 3Medicine, Alameda Health System – Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on November 16, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD