Persistence of hepatitis B vaccine immunity in Hemodialysis patients
Although the efficacy of hepatitis B vaccines in patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis (HD) treatment has been documented, the persistence of immunity in this population remains largely unknown. In this study we evaluated the persistence of hepatitis B vaccine immunity in HD patients. We followed 37 hepatitis B vaccinated HD patients (following a four-dose vaccination schedule of 40 mu g injections intramuscularly in the deltoid muscle at 0, 1, 2, and 6 months) for up to one year to evaluate the persistence of immunity (as indicated by serum levels of hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) equal to or higher than 10 IU/L). One year after vaccination, 18.9% of patients had lost their anti-HBs (transient responders), while 81.1% still had detectable antibodies in the serum (persistent responders). From 81.1% of persistent responders 11.5% and 88.5% were weak and high responders, respectively. There was no significant difference between persistent and transient responders regarding age, sex, or nutritional factors. We did not find any factors that related to maintaining protective levels of anti-HBs in HD patients. It seems that an antibody titer above LOO IU/L following vaccination is necessary in order to maintain that level of antibody one year later.