Aim: It was aimed to investigate the modes of transmisson and long-term prognosis of the disease in patients who were followed up with a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B infection.
Material and methods: The files of the patients who presented to our outpatient clinic between January 2002 and May 2013 and were being followed up with a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis B virus infection were examined retrospectively and the information related with the age, gender, age at the time of diagnosis, mode of transmission, follow-up period, transaminase levels, the amount of hepatitis B virus-deoxyribonucleic acid and treatment and responses to the treatment given were recorded.
Results: The age at the time of diagnosis of 150 patients (97 males, 64%) included in the study was 14.95±2.94 years. 59 (39.3%) of the patients were inactive carriers, 61 (40.7%) were in the immunotolerant stage and 30 (20%) were in the immunoreactive stage. Vertical transmission was present in 86 (57.3%) patients, horizontal transmission was present in 41 patients (27.3%) and the mode of transmission was not known in 23 patients (15.3%). Response to treatment was obtained in 26 (72.2%) of 36 patients who received treatment. Lamivudine (4 mg/kg/day) was given to 29 of the patients who were given treatment, interferon-α (IFN-α) (6 MU/m(2), three days a week) was given to 3 patients at the same dose and both IFN-α and lamivudine were given to 4 patients. The time to give response to treatment was 24.23±15.23 months (6-50 months). Spontaneous anti-HBe seroconversion occured in four (7.2%) of 55 immuntolerant children who were followed up without treatment. The time to development of seroconversion in these children was 2.50±1.91 years (1-5 years).
Conclusions: Chronic hepatitis B virus infection has a more benign prognosis in children compared to adults, though it may lead to development of hepatic failure, cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer. In addition, a decrease in the frequency of infection is expected in children in the years ahead owing to vaccination programs. However, we think that studies related with use of different drugs in patients who do not respond to treatment should be performed.
Keywords: Children; hepatitis B virus infection; treatment.