Neonatal Hepatitis

Also known as: neonatal hepatitis B/C/cytomegalovirus and others, neonatal HBV, congenital hepatitis.

What is neonatal hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Neonatal hepatitis is a liver inflammation that occurs in early infancy; frequently between 1-2 months of age from, and in 20% of infants from a virus that infects the liver, passed during pregnancy (or soon after) from mother to baby.

What causes neonatal hepatitis? 

While in most cases the cause is unknown, many viruses may cause neonatal hepatitis. A mother may be unaware that she carries a virus that may be passed on to her baby.

What are the signs/symptoms of neonatal hepatitis? 

In many cases, there be no immediate symptoms, however when symptoms are present they commonly include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), failure to gain weight and an enlarged liver and spleen. A number of complications, depending on the virus involved may occur subsequently. These include brain damage, scarring of the liver, easy bruising, and an itchy skin.

What are neonatal hepatitis care options?

There is no specific treatment for neonatal hepatitis. Vitamin supplements, barbiturates, and special formulas are frequently given. If severe liver scarring (cirrhosis) occurs with chronic liver disease, a liver transplant may be indicated.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 20, 2019 04:07 PM

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