105 babies with neonatal hepatitis were studied carefully and followed for up to 11 1/2 years. Ascertainment was complete for those with severe and persistent jaundice, but less complete for mild or anicteric cases. Prognosis was found to be poor (40% death or cirrhosis) in babies with perisitently acholic stools, but relatively good (less than 15% death or cirrhosis) in those with jaundice which was less persistent and less obstructive. The presence of second diseases (including alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency or a family history of other affected children) seemed to play a part in determining poor prognosis. A distinctive group of babies (22 cases) presented with acute fulminant illness (with or without jaundice) in the neonatal period. Cytomegalovirus infection carried a relatively good prognosis. Guidelines for selection of patients for therapeutic trials are suggested.
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