Antenatal screening for hepatitis C: universal or risk factor based?

Wilson, Erin and Beckmann, Michael (2015) Antenatal screening for hepatitis C: universal or risk factor based?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 55 4: 318-322. doi:10.1111/ajo.12296

Author Wilson, Erin
Beckmann, Michael
Title Antenatal screening for hepatitis C: universal or risk factor based?
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1479-828X
Publication date 2015-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ajo.12296
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 55
Issue 4
Start page 318
End page 322
Total pages 5
Place of publication Richmond, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background:  There is no clear consensus on whether antenatal screening for hepatitis C (HCV) should be universal, or based on an assessment of risk factors.

Aim:  To report the HCV status and risk factors for HCV amongst women delivering at a tertiary metropolitan hospital in order to better understand the implications of changing from universal to risk factor based HCV screening.

Materials and Methods:  An audit of practice was performed at Mater Mothers' Hospitals (Brisbane) using routinely collected data from 2007 to 2013 (n = 57,659). The demographic and clinical characteristics of HCV-positive women (n = 281) were compared with those with a negative result (n = 57,378), and compared for the presence or absence of risk factors for HCV.

Results:  From a cohort of 57,659 women, 281 (0.5%) women were HCV positive. HCV-positive women were more likely to have received blood products (10.0 vs 3.1%; P < 0.001), have a history of illicit drug use (72.2 vs 9.8%; P < 0.001), and have at least one risk factor for HCV infection (92 vs 17%; P < 0.001). Of the HCV-positive women, only seven of the 281 (2.5%) had no identifiable risk factor, whilst most (83%) HCV-negative women did not have any documented risk factor for HCV infection.

Conclusion:  Most women testing positive for HCV antibodies have identifiable risk factors; however, a small number will not be detected if a risk factor based screening approach is adopted. The benefits of universal screening must be weighed against the potential cost savings of a risk factor based screening program.
Keyword Hepatitis C
Mass screening
Prenatal diagnosis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ)
Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 2 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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