Original Paper

Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 170, Issue 2, pp 103-106

First online:

Outcome of infants born to hepatitis C infected women

  • C. M. HealyAffiliated withRotunda HospitalThe Children’s Hospital
  • , M. T. CafferkeyAffiliated withRotunda HospitalThe Children’s HospitalRoyal College of Surgeons of Ireland
  • , A. ConroyAffiliated withVirus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin
  • , S. DooleyAffiliated withVirus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin
  • , W. W. HallAffiliated withVirus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin
  • , M. BeckettAffiliated withRotunda Hospital
  • , T. A. ClarkeAffiliated withRotunda HospitalThe Children’s HospitalRoyal College of Surgeons of Ireland
  • , M. J. WhiteAffiliated withCoombe Women’s HospitalOur Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin
  • , W. A. GormanAffiliated withNational Maternity HospitalOur Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin
    • , K. M. ButlerAffiliated withRotunda HospitalThe Children’s HospitalOur Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin Email author 

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Abstract

Background

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be transmitted vertically from mother to infant, either late in pregnancy or at delivery.

Aims

To determine the outcome of infants bom to HCV infected women, to characterise epidemiology and to design an appropriate infant monitoring schedule.

Methods

Three hundred and fourteen infants, born to 296 HCV positive women between 1994 and 1999 were monitored for a median of 18 months (range 1–52).

Results

Forty per cent of infants were small for age and 46% had neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Of 173 infants of delned status, 11 were infected (vertical transmission rate [VTR] 6.4%, 95% CI 2.8–10). Infected infants were diagnosed at a median of three months (range 0.5–10). Liver transaminases elevation was documented in 8% of uninfected infants. A negative HCV PCR test before one month of age did not exclude infection but all infected patients had detectable HCV RNA when next tested (range 2–10 months).

Conclusions

94% of infants bom to HCV antibody positive women are not HIV infected. Liver transaminase elevation in exposed infants is not always indicative of infection. A minimum monitoring schedule of testing (PCR and antibody) at six to eight weeks, six and 18 months allows early diagnosis while detecting late seroconversions.