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Asymptomatic liver disease in hepatitis B antigen carriers
  1. I. L. Woolf,
  2. B. E. Boyes,
  3. D. M. Jones,
  4. J. S. Whittaker,
  5. E. Tapp,
  6. R. N. M. MacSween,
  7. P. H. Renton,
  8. F. Stratton,
  9. I. W. Dymock1
  1. Department of Medicine, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester
  2. Department of Pathology, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester
  3. Department of Bacteriology, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester
  4. The National Blood Transfusion Service, Manchester
  5. University Department of Pathology, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.


    Thirty-four healthy blood donors, found to be persistent HBAg carriers, have been investigated by means of serial liver function tests, bromsulphthalein (BSP) retention, and liver biopsy. Thirty-one of the donors had histological abnormalities including one with cirrhosis, three with chronic aggressive hepatitis, and 11 with chronic persistent hepatitis. In 13 biopsies there were focal areas of necrosis in the liver parenchyma. Serial liver function tests revealed abnormalities in each of the donors with cirrhosis or with chronic aggressive hepatitis, in seven of the 11 donors with chronic persistent hepatitis, and in seven of the 13 with focal parenchymal necrosis. The degree of BSP retention was greatest (>11%) in the donors with chronic aggressive hepatitis. The severity of the histological changes was related neither to the titre of the antigen in the serum nor to the presence of autoantibodies.

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    • 1 Correspondence to: Dr. I. W. Dymock, Department of Medicine, University Hospital of South Manchester, Manchester M20 8LR, England.