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October 1973

Anticomplementary Hepatitis B AntigenPrognostic Importance in Chronic Active Liver Disease

Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(4):502-505. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650100024005

Prognostic importance of anticomplementary hepatitis B antigen (HB Ag) tests among 63 patients with chronic active liver disease was assessed in a prospective controlled treatment trial. Patients were assigned randomly to groups receiving placebo, prednisone, azathioprine, or a prednisone-azathioprine combination. A positive result was correlated with poor prognosis and treatment failure in 11 of 18 patients receiving placebo or azathioprine. In contrast, marked improvement in prognosis occurred in 12 of 14 patients receiving prednisone or a prednisone-azathioprine combination (P<.05). Patients with (P<.05). assays had a worse prognosis than did those whose sera were either HB Ag-positive or HB Ag-negative. Lupus erythematosus and smooth muscle antibody tests did not distinguish subgroups or influence response to treatment or prognosis. Among patients with chronic active liver disease, an anticomplementary assay indicates a more urgent need for prednisone treatment.