Chronic hepatitis B viral infection among RA patients—a cross-sectional control study

Naim Mahroum, Abdulla Watad, Shmuel Tiosano, Ashraf Hejly, Hussein Mahagna, Roy Waknin, Doron Comaneshter, Arnon D. Cohen, Howard Amital*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common inflammatory joint disorder presenting also with extra-articular manifestations. As many other autoimmune diseases, it has been suggested that infectious diseases might contribute to its emergence. Hepatitis viruses were suggested by several reports as a trigger of RA onset. We aimed to assess the association between RA and chronic hepatitis B viral infection (HBV). Methods: Patients with RA were compared with age- and sex-matched controls regarding the proportion of chronic HBV infection in a case-control study. The chi-square and t tests were used for univariate analysis, whereas a logistic regression model was used for multivariate analysis. The study was performed utilizing the medical database of Clalit Health Services. Results: There was a significantly higher proportion of chronic HBV infection in RA patients compared with controls (1.19% vs 0.63%, respectively; p < 0.001). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, RA was significantly associated with chronic HBV infection (OR = 1.89, 95%CI 1.55–2.29, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Patients with RA have a greater proportion of chronic HBV infection than matched controls. Screening for HBV infection among RA patients may be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1237-1241
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Rheumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Autoimmune disease
  • Autoimmunity
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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