Korean J Gastroenterol.  2019 Nov;74(5):245-250. 10.4166/kjg.2019.74.5.245.

Natural History and Treatment Indications of Chronic Hepatitis B

  • 1Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. dh.sinn@samsung.com


HBV is the most common etiology of both liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in Korea. Despite much progress made, the currently available antiviral therapies cannot eradicate or eliminate this virus. Hence, the benefits and risks of antiviral therapy should be carefully evaluated on an individual basis and within the context of the clinical situation. The ultimate goals of treatment are to decrease the mortality from liver disease. The benefits of antiviral therapy come from prevention of progression of liver disease. Understanding the natural history of chronic HBV infection is a key step in the decision making process to treat patients with chronic HBV infection. Generally, chronic hepatitis B patients in the immune tolerant phase and immune inactive phase are not recommended to undergo antiviral treatment, except for those patients in special conditions (e.g., immunosuppression or anticancer chemotherapy). Chronic hepatitis B patients in the immune active phase are recommended for antiviral therapy. For patients with liver cirrhosis, treatment should be considered when serum HBV DNA is detectable regardless of the serum level of ALT.


Hepatitis B virus; Natural history; Treatment indication

MeSH Terms

Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
Decision Making
Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis B, Chronic*
Hepatitis, Chronic*
Liver Cirrhosis
Liver Diseases
Natural History*
Risk Assessment


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