Obstetricians' and gynecologists' knowledge, education, and practices regarding chronic hepatitis B in pregnancy

Authors Bolin Niu, Dina Halegoua-De Marzio, Jonathan M. Fenkel, Steven K. Herrine.


Background In pregnant women with high viral loads, third-trimester initiation of antiviral agents can reduce the risk of vertical transmission. We aimed to assess obstetricians' and gynecologists' (OB-GYN) knowledge and clinical practice when treating pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Methods All program directors (PDs) from 250 US OB-GYN residency programs were invited to anonymously complete an 18-item questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were calculated and analyzed.

Results A total of 323 participants responded, including both PDs (n=51, response rate 21%) and residents (n=272, response rate 11%). Responding PDs (62% university-based vs. 32% community-based) came from various practice types. All PDs and 95.2% of residents reported screening for chronic HBV in pregnant patients on the first prenatal visit. A majority of PDs (85.5%) and residents (85%) correctly interpreted HBV serologies. Referral patterns showed that 66.7% of PDs and 65.5% of residents refer to a specialist regardless of viral load. A minority of respondents (19.6% PDs and 12.6% residents) knew that third-trimester antiviral therapy is recommended for women with high viral loads (>200,000 IU/mL). Few respondents had prescribed HBV antivirals (9.8% PDs and 6.0% residents), with residents more commonly prescribing tenofovir and less frequently lamivudine. Half the PDs believed trainees from their programs were comfortable managing HBV in pregnancy, but only 41.8% of residents reported being comfortable managing pregnant patients with HBV.

Conclusion OB-GYNs report screening almost all pregnant patients for chronic HBV, though significant gaps still exist in practitioner comfort and training regarding the management of HBV during pregnancy.

Keywords Hepatitis B virus, pregnancy, obstetricians and gynecologists, survey, education, practice

Ann Gastroenterol 2017; 30 (6): 670-674

Original Articles