1Liver Unit, Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
2University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Viral hepatitis accounts for a significant global disease burden and mortality, both in children and adults. There are significant differences in the viral etiology, epidemiology, and complications in children worldwide. Children of all ages may have devastating complications with a significant risk of mortality and long-term morbidity because of viral hepatitis. Liver transplantation is the only curative option for pediatric patients with end-stage liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, or acute liver failure because of viral hepatitis. The introduction of universal vaccination for hepatitis B across the world and hepatitis A in some countries had led to significant changes in the incidence of disease and the need for liver transplantation for the complications of viral hepatitis in children. The development of effective treatment with directly acting antiviral agents for hepatitis C has already transformed outcomes in adults and children and reduced the need for liver transplantation. Although newer therapy for hepatitis B is being evaluated in adults, current therapy for children is not curative, indicating the need for lifelong therapy and potential necessity for liver transplantation. The recent epidemic of acute hepatitis in children across the world has highlighted the importance of understanding the etiology of unusual causes for acute liver failure and the urgent need for liver transplantation.