Background & Objectives: Prevalence of hepatitis B virus in patients with rheumatic
diseases has been reported differently among studies. The loss of immune control in these patients
may result in the reactivation of HBV replication within hepatocytes. Considering the lifelong use
of multiple anti-rheumatic drugs, screening for HBV is recommended before starting immunosuppressive
or immunomodulatory therapy. The aim of this study was to select the best and simplest
test for screening of HBV in rheumatic patients.
Methods: This study was carried out in 102 patients with different rheumatic diseases. Screening
to all patients for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies and
human immune deficiency virus antibodies (HIV) was done. HBV core antibodies and real time
PCR to detect HBV DNA were done.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 37.18 ± 12.37 years, 3.9% of them were males and
96.1% were females. HBsAg had 100% Sensitivity, 100% Specificity, 100% PPV, 100% NPV
and 99.0% accuracy. While, anti-HBc had 100% Sensitivity, 78% Specificity, 8% PPV, 100%
NPV and 78% accuracy in the screening of HBV.
Conclusions: HBs Ag was found to be superior to antiHBc for screening for HBV infection in