Screening tests for hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers were performed in 266 hematologic patients in order to evaluate the role of transfusion therapy in HBV infection and to identify other possible causes of the high rate of HBV markers positivity in oncohematologic units. As control groups we tested 99 nonhematologic polytransfused patients,66 nonhematologic, nontransfused inpatients with various diseases and 72 subjects randomly selected from the general population. Higher HBV markers prevalence was found in hematologic patients, nonhematologic polytransfused patients and nonhematologic, nontransfused inpatients than in the general population. HBV markers prevalence correlated with the length of hospitalization in all inpatients studied. Our data suggest that hospital admission is a major factor in HBV transmission in hematologic patients and in other inpatients studied. Blood transfusions represent a risk factor only when utilized as chronic treatment.

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