1 Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI.
An in-depth understanding of viral hepatitis is important to the care of patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing hemodialysis. Both hepatitis B and C viruses are acquired through hematogenous spread and can lead to horizontal transmission. Concurrent hepatic and renal injuries have ominous outcomes with significant morbidity. Hepatitis B incidence has decreased through practices including vaccination of nonimmune individuals and isolation of patients with the disease. The pathogenesis of hepatitis B leads to various symptoms and serologic changes with unique temporal associations dictating an acute or chronic presentation. Chronic hepatitis B develops when there is persistence of surface antigen for more than 6 months. Occult hepatitis B is an enigmatic form of the chronic disease where viral DNA is present despite the patient remaining seronegative. Nucleoside analogs are used as a treatment for individuals with hepatitis B who have comorbid CKD; however, the mainstay of infection control relies on immunization. Hepatitis C, an RNA virus, has increased in prevalence. Strict universal precautions with sound infection-control practices are important to prevent seroconversion. Recent therapeutic advances involving the development of direct-acting antiviral agents have broadened treatment options for patients with renal impairment and hepatitis C, offering the potential for a definitive cure. Controversy on the timeliness of treatment for transplant options has also risen with the advent of these newer therapies. We review the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and updates in treatment of these viral entities as they relate to the hemodialysis population.