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  1. Mohamed R, Desmond P, Suh DJ, Amarapurkar D, Gane E, Guangbi Y, et al.
    J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2004 Sep;19(9):958-69.
    PMID: 15304110
    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.
  2. Lim SG, Aghemo A, Chen PJ, Dan YY, Gane E, Gani R, et al.
    Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2017 01;2(1):52-62.
    PMID: 28404015 DOI: 10.1016/S2468-1253(16)30080-2
    The Asia-Pacific region has disparate hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemiology, with prevalence ranging from 0·1% to 4·7%, and a unique genotype distribution. Genotype 1b dominates in east Asia, whereas in south Asia and southeast Asia genotype 3 dominates, and in Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), genotype 6 is most common. Often, availability of all-oral direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) is delayed because of differing regulatory requirements. Ideally, for genotype 1 infections, sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir, sofosbuvir plus daclatasvir, or ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir plus dasabuvir are suitable. Asunaprevir plus daclatasvir is appropriate for compensated genotype 1b HCV if baseline NS5A mutations are absent. For genotype 3 infections, sofosbuvir plus daclatasvir for 24 weeks or sofosbuvir, daclatasvir, and ribavirin for 12 weeks are the optimal oral therapies, particularly for patients with cirrhosis and those who are treatment experienced, whereas sofosbuvir, pegylated interferon, and ribavirin for 12 weeks is an alternative regimen. For genotype 6, sofosbuvir plus pegylated interferon and ribavirin, sofosbuvir plus ledipasvir, or sofosbuvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks are all suitable. Pegylated interferon plus ribavirin has been replaced by sofosbuvir plus pegylated interferon and ribavirin, and all-oral therapies where available, but cost and affordability remain a major issue because of the absence of universal health coverage. Few patients have been treated because of multiple barriers to accessing care. HCV in the Asia-Pacific region is challenging because of the disparate epidemiology, poor access to all-oral therapy because of availability, cost, or regulatory licensing. Until these problems are addressed, the burden of disease is likely to remain high.
  3. Wong GL, Wong VW, Thompson A, Jia J, Hou J, Lesmana CRA, et al.
    Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2020 08;5(8):776-787.
    PMID: 32585136 DOI: 10.1016/S2468-1253(20)30190-4
    The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly worldwide. It is common to encounter patients with COVID-19 with abnormal liver function, either in the form of hepatitis, cholestasis, or both. The clinical implications of liver derangement might be variable in different clinical scenarios. With growing evidence of its clinical significance, it would be clinically helpful to provide practice recommendations for various common clinical scenarios of liver derangement during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asia-Pacific Working Group for Liver Derangement during the COVID-19 Pandemic was formed to systematically review the literature with special focus on the clinical management of patients who have been or who are at risk of developing liver derangement during this pandemic. Clinical scenarios covering the use of pharmacological treatment for COVID-19 in the case of liver derangement, and assessment and management of patients with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis, and liver transplantation during the pandemic are discussed.
  4. Liaw YF, Kao JH, Piratvisuth T, Chan HL, Chien RN, Liu CJ, et al.
    Hepatol Int, 2012 Jun;6(3):531-61.
    PMID: 26201469 DOI: 10.1007/s12072-012-9365-4
    Large volume of new data on the natural history and treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection have become available since 2008. These include further studies in asymptomatic subjects with chronic HBV infection and community-based cohorts, the role of HBV genotype/naturally occurring HBV mutations, the application of non-invasive assessment of hepatic fibrosis and quantitation of HBV surface antigen and new drug or new strategies towards more effective therapy. To update HBV management guidelines, relevant new data were reviewed and assessed by experts from the region, and the significance of the reported findings was discussed and debated. The earlier "Asian-Pacific consensus statement on the management of chronic hepatitis B" was revised accordingly. The key terms used in the statement were also defined. The new guidelines include general management, indications for fibrosis assessment, time to start or stop drug therapy, choice of drug to initiate therapy, when and how to monitor the patients during and after stopping drug therapy. Recommendations on the therapy of patients in special circumstances, including women in childbearing age, patients with antiviral drug resistance, concurrent viral infection, hepatic decompensation, patients receiving immune suppression or chemotherapy and patients in the setting of liver transplantation and hepatocellular carcinoma, are also included.
  5. Sarin SK, Kumar M, Lau GK, Abbas Z, Chan HL, Chen CJ, et al.
    Hepatol Int, 2016 Jan;10(1):1-98.
    PMID: 26563120 DOI: 10.1007/s12072-015-9675-4
    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.
  6. Sukeepaisarnjaroen W, Pham T, Tanwandee T, Nazareth S, Galhenage S, Mollison L, et al.
    World J Gastroenterol, 2015 Jul 28;21(28):8660-9.
    PMID: 26229408 DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i28.8660
    To examined the efficacy and safety of treatment with boceprevir, PEGylated-interferon and ribavirin (PR) in hepatitis C virus genotype 1 (HCVGT1) PR treatment-failures in Asia.
  7. Lim SG, Phyo WW, Shah SR, Win KM, Hamid S, Piratvisuth T, et al.
    J Viral Hepat, 2018 12;25(12):1533-1542.
    PMID: 30141214 DOI: 10.1111/jvh.12989
    There is a paucity of information on chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients treated with direct antiviral agents (DAAs) in Asia. We invited Asia-Pacific physicians to collate databases of patients enrolled for CHC treatment, recording baseline clinical, virologic and biochemical characteristics, sustained virologic response at week 12 (SVR12) and virologic failure. SVR12 outcome was based on intention to treat (ITT). Multivariate analysis was used to assess independent risk factors for SVR12 using SPSS version 20. A total of 2171 patients from India (n = 977), Myanmar (n = 552), Pakistan (n = 406), Thailand (n = 139), Singapore (n = 72) and Malaysia (n = 25) were collected. At baseline, mean age was 49 years, 50.2% were males, and 41.8% had cirrhosis. Overall, SVR12 was 89.5% and by genotype (GT) based on ITT and treatment completion, respectively, was 91% and 92% for GT1, 100% and 100% for GT2, 91% and 97% for GT3, 64% and 95% for GT4, 87% and 87% for GT6 and 79% and 91% for GT untested. Patients with cirrhosis had SVR12 of 85% vs 93% for noncirrhosis (P < 0.001) (RR 2.1, 95% CI 1.4-3.1, P = 0.0002). Patients with GT1 and GT3 treated with sofosbuvir/ribavirin (SR) had 88% and 89% SVR12, respectively, but those GT6 treated with sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (SL) had only 77.6% SVR12. Multivariate analysis showed absence of cirrhosis was associated with higher SVR12 (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.3-3.1, P = 0.002). In conclusion, patients with GT1 and GT3 with/without cirrhosis had surprisingly high efficacy using SR, suggesting that Asians may respond better to some DAAs. However, poor GT6 response to SL suggests this regimen is suboptimal for this genotype.
  8. Wei L, Lim SG, Xie Q, Văn KN, Piratvisuth T, Huang Y, et al.
    Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2019 02;4(2):127-134.
    PMID: 30555048 DOI: 10.1016/S2468-1253(18)30343-1
    BACKGROUND: Treatment with combined sofosbuvir and velpatasvir has resulted in high sustained virological response rates in patients chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) with genotypes 1-6 in clinical trials and real-world settings, but its efficacy and safety has not been assessed in Asia, a region with diverse HCV genotypes.

    METHODS: In this single-arm, open-label, phase 3 trial, we recruited patients from 38 sites across China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia, who were chronically infected with HCV genotypes 1-6, and were HCV treatment-naive or treatment-experienced, either without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis. Patients self-administered a combined sofosbuvir (400 mg) and velpatasvir (100 mg) tablet once daily for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was sustained virological response, defined as HCV RNA less than 15 IU/mL at 12 weeks after completion of treatment (SVR12), assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug. The primary safety endpoint was the proportion of adverse events leading to premature discontinuation of study drug. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02671500, and is completed.

    FINDINGS: Between April 14, 2016, and June 30, 2017, 375 patients were enrolled in the study, of whom 374 completed the full treatment course and one discontinued treatment. Overall, 362 (97% [95% CI 94-98]) of 375 patients achieved SVR12. Among 42 patients with HCV genotype 3b, all of whom had baseline resistance-associated substitutions in NS5A, 25 (89% [95% CI 72-98]) of 28 patients without cirrhosis and seven (50% [23-77]) of 14 patients with cirrhosis achieved SVR12. The most common adverse events were upper respiratory tract infection (36 [10%] patients) and headache (18 [5%] patients). There were no discontinuations due to adverse events. Serious adverse events were reported in three (1%) patients, none of which was judged to be related to sofosbuvir-velpatasvir treatment.

    INTERPRETATION: Consistent with data from other phase 3 studies, single-tablet sofosbuvir-velpatasvir for 12 weeks is an efficacious and safe treatment for Asian patients with chronic HCV infection, but might have lower efficacy in those infected with HCV genotype 3b and with cirrhosis.

    FUNDING: Gilead Sciences.

  9. Devarbhavi H, Choudhury AK, Sharma MK, Maiwall R, Al Mahtab M, Rahman S, et al.
    Am. J. Gastroenterol., 2019 06;114(6):929-937.
    PMID: 31021832 DOI: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000000201
    OBJECTIVES: Acute insults from viruses, infections, or alcohol are established causes of decompensation leading to acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). Information regarding drugs as triggers of ACLF is lacking. We examined data regarding drugs producing ACLF and analyzed clinical features, laboratory characteristics, outcome, and predictors of mortality in patients with drug-induced ACLF.

    METHODS: We identified drugs as precipitants of ACLF among prospective cohort of patients with ACLF from the Asian Pacific Association of Study of Liver (APASL) ACLF Research Consortium (AARC) database. Drugs were considered precipitants after exclusion of known causes together with a temporal association between exposure and decompensation. Outcome was defined as death from decompensation.

    RESULTS: Of the 3,132 patients with ACLF, drugs were implicated as a cause in 329 (10.5%, mean age 47 years, 65% men) and other nondrug causes in 2,803 (89.5%) (group B). Complementary and alternative medications (71.7%) were the commonest insult, followed by combination antituberculosis therapy drugs (27.3%). Alcoholic liver disease (28.6%), cryptogenic liver disease (25.5%), and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) (16.7%) were common causes of underlying liver diseases. Patients with drug-induced ACLF had jaundice (100%), ascites (88%), encephalopathy (46.5%), high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) (30.2), and Child-Turcotte-Pugh score (12.1). The overall 90-day mortality was higher in drug-induced (46.5%) than in non-drug-induced ACLF (38.8%) (P = 0.007). The Cox regression model identified arterial lactate (P < 0.001) and total bilirubin (P = 0.008) as predictors of mortality.

    DISCUSSION: Drugs are important identifiable causes of ACLF in Asia-Pacific countries, predominantly from complementary and alternative medications, followed by antituberculosis drugs. Encephalopathy, bilirubin, blood urea, lactate, and international normalized ratio (INR) predict mortality in drug-induced ACLF.

  10. Duseja A, De A, Taneja S, Choudhury AK, Devarbhavi H, Hu J, et al.
    Liver Int, 2021 01;41(1):150-157.
    PMID: 32970356 DOI: 10.1111/liv.14671
    BACKGROUND: Metabolic risk factors may impact the severity and outcome of alcoholic liver disease. The present study evaluated this effect in patients with alcohol-associated acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF).

    METHODOLOGY: One thousand two hundred and sixteen prospectively enrolled patients with ACLF (males 98%, mean age 42.5 ± 9.4 years, mean CTP, MELD and AARC scores of 12 ± 1.4, 29.7 ± 7 and 9.8 ± 2 respectively) from the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) ACLF Research Consortium (AARC) database were analysed retrospectively. Patients with or without metabolic risk factors were compared for severity (CTP, MELD, AARC scores) and day 30 and 90 mortality. Information on overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension and dyslipidaemia were available in 1028 (85%), 1019 (84%), 1017 (84%) and 965 (79%) patients respectively.

    RESULTS: Overall, 392 (32%) patients died at day 30 and 528 (43%) at day 90. Overweight/obesity, T2DM, hypertension and dyslipidaemia were present in 154 (15%), 142 (14%), 66 (7%) and 141 (15%) patients, respectively, with no risk factors in 809 (67%) patients. Patients with overweight/obesity had higher MELD scores (30.6 ± 7.1 vs 29.2 ± 6.9, P = .007) and those with dyslipidaemia had higher AARC scores (10.4 ± 1.2 vs 9.8 ± 2, P = .014). Overweight/obesity was associated with increased day 30 mortality (HR 1.54, 95% CI 1.06-2.24, P = .023). None of other metabolic risk factors, alone or in combination, had any impact on disease severity or mortality. On multivariate analysis, overweight or obesity was significantly associated with 30-day mortality (aHR 1.91, 95% CI 1.41-2.59, P 

  11. Sarin SK, Choudhury A, Sharma MK, Maiwall R, Al Mahtab M, Rahman S, et al.
    Hepatol Int, 2019 Jul;13(4):353-390.
    PMID: 31172417 DOI: 10.1007/s12072-019-09946-3
    The first consensus report of the working party of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) set up in 2004 on acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) was published in 2009. With international groups volunteering to join, the "APASL ACLF Research Consortium (AARC)" was formed in 2012, which continued to collect prospective ACLF patient data. Based on the prospective data analysis of nearly 1400 patients, the AARC consensus was published in 2014. In the past nearly four-and-a-half years, the AARC database has been enriched to about 5200 cases by major hepatology centers across Asia. The data published during the interim period were carefully analyzed and areas of contention and new developments in the field of ACLF were prioritized in a systematic manner. The AARC database was also approached for answering some of the issues where published data were limited, such as liver failure grading, its impact on the 'Golden Therapeutic Window', extrahepatic organ dysfunction and failure, development of sepsis, distinctive features of acute decompensation from ACLF and pediatric ACLF and the issues were analyzed. These initiatives concluded in a two-day meeting in October 2018 at New Delhi with finalization of the new AARC consensus. Only those statements, which were based on evidence using the Grade System and were unanimously recommended, were accepted. Finalized statements were again circulated to all the experts and subsequently presented at the AARC investigators meeting at the AASLD in November 2018. The suggestions from the experts were used to revise and finalize the consensus. After detailed deliberations and data analysis, the original definition of ACLF was found to withstand the test of time and be able to identify a homogenous group of patients presenting with liver failure. New management options including the algorithms for the management of coagulation disorders, renal replacement therapy, sepsis, variceal bleed, antivirals and criteria for liver transplantation for ACLF patients were proposed. The final consensus statements along with the relevant background information and areas requiring future studies are presented here.
  12. Sarin SK, Choudhury A, Sharma MK, Maiwall R, Al Mahtab M, Rahman S, et al.
    Hepatol Int, 2019 11;13(6):826-828.
    PMID: 31595462 DOI: 10.1007/s12072-019-09980-1
    The article Acute-on-chronic liver failure: consensus recommendations of the Asian Pacific association for the study of the liver (APASL): an update, written by [Shiv Sarin], was originally published electronically on the publisher's internet portal (currently SpringerLink) on June 06, 2019 without open access.
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