In the JournalsPerspective

HBV serostatus identification is critical before hemodialysis

Emil P. Lesho, DO
Emil P. Lesho

A multistep process may help to confirm whether hemodialysis patients are chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus and protect other patients from HBV exposure, according to findings published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Dedicated equipment and a segregated setting are required when carriers receive dialysis. Providers should be aware of a patient’s serostatus before each dialysis session, but when medical history and records are “sparse” there is a greater chance that a patient’s serostatus is missed.

At a health system in upstate New York, inpatients receiving hemodialysis were exposed to after a new patient’s HBV serostatus went unverified during predialysis, prompting researchers to minimize further exposure risk and review electronic medical records to prevent future incidents.

After the incident was discovered, all patients who may have been exposed — either by being dialyzed in the same room or dialyzed on the same machine as the index patient — received the HBV vaccine and immunoglobulin within 7 days of the exposure, and their seroconversion was monitored weekly. The machines used by these patients were sequestered, bleached and heat treated following each dialysis session, according to the study.

The researchers conducted a root cause analysis found four factors that contributed to the index patient’s serostatus being missed.

“Emergent initiation of the first dialysis session, automatic importing of laboratory results, a single manual verification step, and the ‘off-the shelf’ appearance of the graphic user interfaces of a widely used EMR platform contributed to this untoward event,” Emil P. Lesho, DO, a health care epidemiologist at Rochester Regional Health, told Infectious Disease News.

As a result, a multistep verification process was implemented, and changes were made to the EMR including:

  • a “highly” visible column for HBV;
  • a “hard-stop” during electronic dialysis orders; and
  • a hepatitis toolbar.

Two years after EMR, there were zero additional exposures, zero near and no detection of HBV DNA or seroconversions among the exposed patients.

“Given the prevalence of HBVinfections and the increasing incidence of end-stage renal disease, chronic HBV carries could be inadvertently hemodialyzed in un-cohorted settings,” Lesho said. “Such breaches are likely not rare and may be underreported.” – by Marley Ghizzone

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

Emil P. Lesho, DO
Emil P. Lesho

A multistep process may help to confirm whether hemodialysis patients are chronic carriers of hepatitis B virus and protect other patients from HBV exposure, according to findings published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Dedicated equipment and a segregated setting are required when carriers receive dialysis. Providers should be aware of a patient’s serostatus before each dialysis session, but when medical history and records are “sparse” there is a greater chance that a patient’s serostatus is missed.

At a health system in upstate New York, inpatients receiving hemodialysis were exposed to after a new patient’s HBV serostatus went unverified during predialysis, prompting researchers to minimize further exposure risk and review electronic medical records to prevent future incidents.

After the incident was discovered, all patients who may have been exposed — either by being dialyzed in the same room or dialyzed on the same machine as the index patient — received the HBV vaccine and immunoglobulin within 7 days of the exposure, and their seroconversion was monitored weekly. The machines used by these patients were sequestered, bleached and heat treated following each dialysis session, according to the study.

The researchers conducted a root cause analysis found four factors that contributed to the index patient’s serostatus being missed.

“Emergent initiation of the first dialysis session, automatic importing of laboratory results, a single manual verification step, and the ‘off-the shelf’ appearance of the graphic user interfaces of a widely used EMR platform contributed to this untoward event,” Emil P. Lesho, DO, a health care epidemiologist at Rochester Regional Health, told Infectious Disease News.

As a result, a multistep verification process was implemented, and changes were made to the EMR including:

  • a “highly” visible column for HBV;
  • a “hard-stop” during electronic dialysis orders; and
  • a hepatitis toolbar.

Two years after EMR, there were zero additional exposures, zero near and no detection of HBV DNA or seroconversions among the exposed patients.

“Given the prevalence of HBVinfections and the increasing incidence of end-stage renal disease, chronic HBV carries could be inadvertently hemodialyzed in un-cohorted settings,” Lesho said. “Such breaches are likely not rare and may be underreported.” – by Marley Ghizzone

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

    Perspective
    Chari Cohen

    Chari Cohen

    This study highlights an important, but often overlooked, route of transmission for HBV in the United States. People undergoing dialysis can be at risk of exposure to, and subsequent infection with, HBV. And people undergoing dialysis can also be less likely to build and maintain protective antibody against HBV, further complicating the situation. This article highlights current challenges in the U.S. First, although up to 2.2 million people are chronically infected (and thousands more are acutely infected each year), only 25% are aware of their infection — screening and diagnosis rates for HBV in the U.S. remain low. Second, there are no FDA-approved point-of-care rapid tests for HBV available for use in the U.S. A rapid test could potentially reduce exposure risk by identifying someone as surface antigen positive within 20 minutes, if tested before a first dialysis session — negating the need to wait for blood test results from the lab. This article provides more evidence of the need for universal HBV testing in the U.S., as well as the need to increase adult vaccination. With the newly approved two-dose HBV vaccine, it is easier than ever to protect people from HBV infection.

    • Chari Cohen, DrMPH, MPH
    • Vice president, public health and programs
      Hepatitis B Foundation

    Disclosures: Cohen reports no relevant financial disclosures.