The Asia-Pacific Expert Committee on Hepatitis B Management recently reviewed the impact of hepatitis B in the region and assessed the differences and similarities observed in the practical management of the disease in individual Asia-Pacific countries. Hepatitis B is a major health concern in the Asia-Pacific region, and of all chronically infected carriers worldwide, approximately 75% are found in Asia. The disease poses a considerable burden on healthcare systems, and is likely to remain a cause of substantial morbidity and mortality for several decades. Disease prevention activities, including screening and vaccination programs, have been implemented successfully in some Asia-Pacific countries and similar measures are being established in other parts of the region. The management of hepatitis B in the Asia-Pacific varies throughout the region, with each country confronting different issues related to treatment options, disease monitoring and duration of therapy. The influence of cost, availability of diagnostic equipment, and patient awareness and compliance are of additional concern. Although guidelines such as those developed by the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver have been created to address problems encountered in the management of hepatitis B, many physicians in the region still find it difficult to make satisfactory management decisions because of the treatment choices available. This article examines the different approaches to hepatitis B management in a number of Asia-Pacific countries, and highlights the difficulties that can arise when adhering to treatment guidelines and disease prevention solutions that have proved to be successful in the region.
Worldwide, some 240 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV), with the highest rates of infection in Africa and Asia. Our understanding of the natural history of HBV infection and the potential for therapy of the resultant disease is continuously improving. New data have become available since the previous APASL guidelines for management of HBV infection were published in 2012. The objective of this manuscript is to update the recommendations for the optimal management of chronic HBV infection. The 2015 guidelines were developed by a panel of Asian experts chosen by the APASL. The clinical practice guidelines are based on evidence from existing publications or, if evidence was unavailable, on the experts' personal experience and opinion after deliberations. Manuscripts and abstracts of important meetings published through January 2015 have been evaluated. This guideline covers the full spectrum of care of patients infected with hepatitis B, including new terminology, natural history, screening, vaccination, counseling, diagnosis, assessment of the stage of liver disease, the indications, timing, choice and duration of single or combination of antiviral drugs, screening for HCC, management in special situations like childhood, pregnancy, coinfections, renal impairment and pre- and post-liver transplant, and policy guidelines. However, areas of uncertainty still exist, and clinicians, patients, and public health authorities must therefore continue to make choices on the basis of the evolving evidence. The final clinical practice guidelines and recommendations are presented here, along with the relevant background information.
In 2018, Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) published a clinical practice guideline on the prevention, diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in chronic kidney disease (CKD). The guideline synthesized recent advances, especially in HCV therapeutics and diagnostics, and provided clinical recommendations and suggestions to aid healthcare providers and improve care for CKD patients with HCV. To gain insight into the extent that the 2018 guideline has been adopted in Asia, KDIGO convened an HCV Implementation Summit in Hong Kong. Participants included nephrologists, hepatologists, and nurse consultants from 8 Southeast Asian countries or regions with comparable high-to-middle economic ranking by the World Bank: mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Through presentations and discussions, meeting participants described regional practice patterns related to the KDIGO HCV in CKD guideline, identified barriers to implementing the guideline, and developed strategies for overcoming the barriers in Asia and around the world.