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J Pediatr. 1986 Feb;108(2):224-7.

Liver cirrhosis associated with chronic hepatitis B virus infection in childhood.


We evaluated the prevalence and the clinical features of liver cirrhosis associated with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a prospective study of 292 consecutive children who were chronic HBsAg carriers with increased aminotransferase activity. Liver histologic changes at presentation were consistent with cirrhosis in 10 (3.4%) patients (100% boys, mean age 4.0 +/- 3.3 years). In none of the remaining children, including 166 with histologic evidence of chronic active hepatitis, did the condition progress to cirrhosis during an observation period of 1 to 10 years. This lack of progression suggests that cirrhosis is an early complication of chronic HBV disease in some patients. A higher prevalence of delta infection and increased incidence of blood transfusions were observed in patients with cirrhosis, supporting the hypothesis that superinfection with delta or non-A, non-B agents may play a synergistic role. Eight of 10 patients had histologic features of disease activity at presentation, although only two had symptoms. During follow-up, persistence of disease activity was observed only in the three delta antigen-positive patients. None of the patients with inactive cirrhosis have developed signs of liver failure or portal hypertension.

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