Cost-Effectiveness of Testing Hepatitis BPositive Pregnant Women for Hepatitis B e Antigen or Viral Load

Fan, Lin PhD; Owusu-Edusei, Kwame Jr PhD; Schillie, Sarah F. MD, MPH; Murphy, Trudy V. MD

Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000124
Contents: Original Research
Journal Club

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the cost-effectiveness of testing pregnant women with hepatitis B (hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]-positive) for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) or hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, and administering maternal antiviral prophylaxis if indicated, to decrease breakthrough perinatal HBV transmission from the U.S. health care perspective.

METHODS: A Markov decision model was constructed for a 2010 birth cohort of 4 million neonates to estimate the cost-effectiveness of two strategies: testing HBsAg-positive pregnant women for 1) HBeAg or 2) HBV load. Maternal antiviral prophylaxis is given from 28 weeks of gestation through 4 weeks postpartum when HBeAg is positive or HBV load is high (108 copies/mL or greater). These strategies were compared with the current recommendation. All neonates born to HBsAg-positive women received recommended active-passive immunoprophylaxis. Effects were measured in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and all costs were in 2010 U.S. dollars.

RESULTS: The HBeAg testing strategy saved $3.3 million and 3,080 QALYs and prevented 486 chronic HBV infections compared with the current recommendation. The HBV load testing strategy cost $3 million more than current recommendation, saved 2,080 QALYs, and prevented 324 chronic infections with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1,583 per QALY saved compared with the current recommendations. The results remained robust over a wide range of assumptions.

CONCLUSION: Testing HBsAg-positive pregnant women for HBeAg or HBV load followed by maternal antiviral prophylaxis if HBeAg-positive or high viral load to reduce perinatal hepatitis B transmission in the United States is cost-effective.

In Brief

Testing hepatitis B surface antigen-positive pregnant women for hepatitis B e antigen or viral load, followed by maternal antiviral prophylaxis if indicated, is cost-effective.

Author Information

National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding author: Lin Fan, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS G-37, Atlanta, GA 30333; e-mail:

Presented at “INFORMS 2nd Conference on Healthcare,” June 23–26, 2013, Chicago, Illinois.

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.