The management of HCV infected pregnant women and their children. European Paediatric HCV Network

Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, London, UK.
Journal of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 10.4). 10/2005; 43(3):515-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.06.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As evidence accumulates relating to mother-to-child (vertical) transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV), it is timely to draw up guidelines for the clinical management of HCV infected pregnant women and their children.
A review of evidence from the European Paediatric HCV Network (EPHN) prospective study of HCV infected women and their children and other published studies. Meeting of EPHN clinical experts to reach a consensus on recommendations for management. Each recommendation was graded according to the level of evidence.
Although several risk factors for mother-to-child transmission have been identified, none are modifiable and there are currently no interventions available to prevent vertical transmission of HCV. Data on timing of loss of maternal antibodies and reliability of diagnostic tests inform the optimum follow-up schedule for confirmation or exclusion of infection in children born to HCV infected women. Based on the current evidence, routine antenatal screening for HCV should not be introduced and neither elective caesarean section nor avoidance of breastfeeding should be recommended to HCV infected women to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HCV. HCV/HIV co-infected women should follow existing HIV guidelines.

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    • "All HCV seropositive women were identified at or before delivery, and their children were prospectively followed up as described elsewhere (EPHN, 2005; Pembrey et al., 2005). In particular, vertically exposed children were taken to be HCV-infected when they had positive PCR results in at least two separate determinations and/or were seropositive beyond 18 months of age. "
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