Pediatric Fulminant Hepatic Failure in Endemic Areas of Hepatitis B Infection: 15 Years after Universal Hepatitis B Vaccination

Huey Ling Chen, Chee Jen Chang, Man Shan Kong, Fu Chen Huang, Hung Chang Lee, Chieh Chung Lin, Ching Chuan Liu, I. Hsien Lee, Tzee Chung Wu, Shu Fen Wu, Yen Hsuan Ni, Hong Yuan Hsu, Ding Shinn Chen, Mei Hwei Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

96 Scopus citations


To investigate the role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in pediatric fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) after the launch of universal HBV vaccination, the authors analyzed the data from patients with FHF collected from a nationwide collaborative study group. Children aged 1 month to 15 years who were diagnosed with FHF (62 males and 33 females) between 1985-1999 were included. HBV infection (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg] and/or immunoglobulin M hepatitis B core antibody [IgM anti-HBc] seropositive) accounted for 46% (43 of 95 cases) of all the cases of FHF. The average annual incidence of FHF in the time period 1985-1999 was 0.053/100,000 in the group of patients ages 1-15 years and 1.29/100,000 in those patients age < 1 year. Approximately 61% (58 of 95 cases) of all FHF cases were infants. The percentage of HBV infection was found to be higher in infants (57%) compared with children ages 1-15 years (27%) (P = 0.004). The incidence rate ratio of those patients age < 1 year to those ages 1-15 years was 54.2 for HBV-positive FHF and 15.2 for HBV-negative FHF. Maternal HBsAg was found to be positive in 97% of the infants with HBV-positive FHF, and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) was found to be negative in 84% of these infants. Approximately 74% of all HBV-positive FHF patients and 81% of the infantile HBV-positive patients had been vaccinated. In conclusion, within the first 15 years of universal vaccination, HBV was found to rarely cause FHF in children age > 1 year but remained a significant cause of FHF in infants. HBV-positive FHF was prone to develop in infants born to HBeAg-negative, HBsAg-carrier mothers; these infants had not received hepatitis B immunoglobulin according to the vaccination program in place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2004
Externally publishedYes


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