What is Neonatal Hepatitis/ Idiopathic Giant Cell Hepatitis?

Newborns may develop neonatal hepatitis within the first few months after birth. Idiopathic giant cell hepatitis is a rare disorder found in newborns, primarily males. Some of these cases are caused by an infection the mother had during pregnancy, but the majority of the time there is no specific virus causing the issue.

The most common symptom of neonatal hepatitis is jaundice, which causes the eyes and skin to develop a yellow color. This can also prevent the baby from absorbing the nutrients needed for development, causing them to be underweight.

Typically, neonatal hepatitis is related to a hepatitis A infection, but could also be related to hep B or C. The medication phenobarbital helps to stimulate the liver to excrete bile, helping to flush the virus from the body. However, severe cases may only be treated with a liver transplant.

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