Background: Hepatitis B is a widespread disease. 2 billion people throughout the world have been infected, of which 400 million have developed chronicity (Norway: 12-15 000). Consequently this is a major health problem worldwide and Norway, although being a low-prevalence country, must expect an increase in the number of cases in the future, as a result of an increase in intravenous drug abusers domestically and increased international interaction, in the form of immigration and tourism. Based on these prospects the aim of this paper is to enhance the reader’s knowledge on hepatitis B, and describe a population of patients with chronic hepatitis B at a Norwegian University Clinic, demographically, clinically and biochemically.
Materials/methods: The study included all the patients with chronic hepatitis B (ICD-10: B18) at Aker University Clinic in the period 2000-2003, 56 in all. We registered a set of demographic, clinical and biochemical data from the patient’s medical notes, in a structural registration form. The liver biopsies were analyzed by an experienced pathologist.
Results: We found that the majority of the patients were men (71,4 %), and non-Norwegian (80,4 %) and 60,1 % had unknown route of transmission. 60,7 % had normal transaminases. 46,4 % were HBeAg-negative. 14,3 % had clinical or biochemical cirrhosis, but none of these were histologically confirmed. 19,6 % received medical treatment, 36,4 % of these had effect.
Conclusion: HBeAg-status seems to some extent to predict ongoing liver damage. The increase in reported cases of HBV-infection in Norway, should prompt an evaluation of the immunization programme.