Published online Sep 14, 2022. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v28.i34.5023
Peer-review started: May 24, 2022
First decision: June 27, 2022
Revised: July 9, 2022
Accepted: August 25, 2022
Article in press: August 25, 2022
Published online: September 14, 2022
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a significant global health burden, and there is a high proportion of women with antibodies to HCV positive whose active infection with viremia. In addition, HCV infection among pregnant women is an increasing but potentially modifiable threat to maternal and child health.
Although HCV affects a significant number of pregnant women, there is limited data regarding the impact of HCV active infection on pregnancy and infant outcomes. Therefore, there are data gaps in supporting strategies for clinical management of mothers with HCV infections during pregnancy.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare the frequency and severity of adverse maternal outcomes during pregnancy, as well as fetal and infant outcomes between mothers with HCV viremia and healthy mothers.
A retrospective observational cohort study was conducted to compare pregnancy and fetal outcomes of HCV-viremic mothers with those of healthy mothers. After HCV mothers with viremia and healthy mothers were enrolled, we collected their demographic information and pertinent clinical data using an electronic medical record system and paper charts. Perinatal information for fetal development and infant outcomes were extracted from the neonatal records. Data analyses were performed using the Statistical Package for Social Science for Windows, Version 25.0 (SPSS Inc., IBM, New York, United States).
Our study enrolled 79 viremic mothers and 115 healthy mothers. Compared to healthy mothers, HCV mothers had a significantly higher frequency of anemia, caesarian section, and nuchal cords during pregnancy. In addition, the mean neonatal weight and head circumference in the HCV group was significantly lower. In a multivariate model, similar results were found.
Our study demonstrates the association between maternal HCV viremia and a smaller neonate head circumference. We also confirmed the high frequency of pregnancy and obstetric complications in HCV viremic mothers.
Multi-center and large sample studies are needed to verify these results in the future and to investigate if HCV-infected patients with advanced fibrosis have negative maternal and fetal outcomes.