Serum Aminotransferase Flares in Pregnant and Postpartum Women With Current or Prior Treatment for Chronic Hepatitis B

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Abstract

Background and Aims:

Antiviral therapy is recommended for pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA>200,000 IU/mL, but there is less consensus on management of women who discontinue therapy in anticipation of pregnancy or who become pregnant while on therapy. The goal of this study was to describe flares in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) during pregnancy and postpartum in CHB women with current and/or prior treatment.

Methods:

This was a multicenter, retrospective study of 67 pregnancies in 56 CHB women treated before and/or during pregnancy. Main outcomes were frequency, severity, and resolution of ALT flare (≥5× upper limit of normal or ≥3× baseline, whichever was higher).

Results:

During pregnancy, ALT flares (95 to 1064 U/L) were observed in 16% (7/43) of women who stopped treatment before pregnancy and 31% (4/13) of women who discontinued treatment during first trimester, many of whom had high HBV DNA levels (4.9 to 8.0 log IU/mL). No flares (0/11) were observed in women who continued treatment. Postpartum ALT flares (104 to 1584 U/L) were observed in 0% (0/15) of women who were completely untreated during pregnancy, 29% (2/7) of women who discontinued treatment in first trimester, 33% (3/9) of women who stopped treatment at delivery, and 22% (4/18) of women who continued treatment postpartum.

Conclusions:

In previously treated women with CHB, ALT flares were common during pregnancy and postpartum, especially if antiviral therapy was discontinued shortly before pregnancy, during first trimester, or at delivery. Thus, these pregnant women should be monitored closely throughout pregnancy and the early postpartum period; larger studies are needed to further characterize the natural history of HBV infection during pregnancy and postpartum.

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