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.