Universal prenatal hepatitis C virus screening (HCV) improves health outcomes in women with HCV infection, improves identification of HCV exposure in neonates born at risk, and is cost-effective, a new study found. Researchers simulated the lifetimes of 250 million pregnant women matched at baseline with the US childbearing population on age, injection drug use behaviors, and HCV infection status. Outcomes included HCV diagnosis, treatment and cure, lifetime health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALY), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios comparing universal prenatal HCV screening to current practice. They found:
- Pregnant women with HCV infection lived 1.21 years longer and had 16% lower HCV-attributable mortality with universal prenatal HCV screening.
- Universal HCV screening had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $41,000 per QALY gained vs current practice.
- Universal prenatal HCV screening increased identification of neonates exposed to HCV at birth from 44 to 92%.
Tasillo A, Eftekhari Yazdi E, Nolen S, et al. Short-term effects and long-term cost-effectiveness of universal hepatitis C testing in prenatal care. [Published online ahead of print January 8, 2019]. Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000003062.