Chronic Hepatitis Is Common and Often Untreated Among Children with Hepatitis B Infection in the United States and Canada

Hepatitis B Research Network (HBRN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the outcomes of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a large, prospectively studied cohort of children in the US and Canada. Study design: This was a prospective, observational study of children with chronic HBV enrolled in 7 clinical centers and evaluated at baseline, weeks 24 and 48, and annually thereafter, with analysis of demographic, clinical, physical examination, and blood test data. Results: Among 362 children followed for a median of 4.2 years, elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels (>1 upper limit of normal) were present in 72% at last evaluation, including in 60% of children with loss of hepatitis B e antigen during follow-up and 70% of those who were hepatitis B e antigen negative at baseline. Significant ALT flares (male patients ≥400 U/L, female patients ≥350 U/L) occurred in 13 children. Of 129 children who fulfilled the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases treatment criteria during follow-up, anti-HBV treatment was initiated in only 25. One child died (unrelated to liver disease), 1 developed cirrhosis, but no episodes of cirrhotic decompensation or hepatocellular carcinoma were observed. Decline in platelet count was inversely associated with ALT elevations. Conclusions: In a cohort of children with chronic HBV infection in the US and Canada, many children remained at risk of progressive liver disease due to active hepatitis, but major clinical outcomes such as cirrhosis, cancer, and death were rare. Many children who met criteria for treatment remained untreated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-33.e12
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • alanine aminotransferase
  • clinical outcomes
  • entecavir
  • interferon
  • lamivudine
  • phenotype
  • platelet count
  • vertical transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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