Author(s): Shah U, Habib Z, Kleinman RE
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Abstract In young children hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections are usually subclinical events. However, HAV is also associated with progressive hepatic failure and even death in some patients. This study was undertaken to characterize the course of hepatitis A-related acute liver failure in children from a developing country where hepatitis A is endemic and produces significant morbidity. Patients <15 years of age with confirmed hepatitis A, seen at the Aga Khan University Hospital between January 1991 and August 1998 were identified using the patient registry. Of the 2735 patients seen with hepatitis A, 232 were admitted to the hospital. Of these 30 patients developed progressive hepatic dysfunction and liver failure. During this period, 45 children were admitted with liver failure attributable to other causes. Of the patients admitted with hepatitis A-related liver failure, 25 (83.3\%) were encephalopathic at presentation and 36.7\% of the patients died. The prothrombin time was the most significant predictor of survival. There was a significant difference between those who survived and those who died on discriminant analysis with respect to age, grade of hepatic encephalopathy, duration of hospitalization, prothrombin time, and duration of jaundice when taken as a group. There is a striking prevalence of liver dysfunction progressing to hepatic failure among children seen at a hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. This study demonstrates the significant morbidity and mortality that can attend HAV infections in children in a developing country despite tertiary medical facilities. The risk of HAV and its sequelae could probably be effectively reduced in these settings with improved sanitation and universal immunization.
This article was published in Pediatrics
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability