The 2009 guidelines have been updated to incorporate all new relevant information since the previous versions in 2005. The 2005 versions came as separate hepatitis B and C guidelines but for 2009 we have decided to amalgamate them into a single document. This is to avoid duplication, as the general management of chronic liver disease is similar for both infections. The guidelines follow the methodology outlined below and all the peer-reviewed publications and important, potentially treatment-changing abstracts from the last four years have been reviewed.
The translation of data into clinical practice is often difficult, even with the best possible evidence, because of differences in factors such as trial design and inclusion criteria. The recommendations based upon expert opinion have the least good evidence but provide an important reason for writing the guidelines – to produce a consensual opinion about current practice. The Writing Group seeks to provide guidelines that optimize management, but such care needs to be individualized and we have not constructed a document that we would wish to see used as a ‘standard’ for litigation.
The major changes/amendments include:
Writing group chair and hepatitis B co-lead
Writing group deputy chair and hepatitis B co-lead
Hepatitis C lead
General section lead
Dr Sanjay Bhagani, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London