K Chatzistamatiou, A Sotiriadis , T Agorastos
A systematic review of the literature has been conducted (last update March 2014) for clinical studies reporting the prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the offspring of HPV-infected women in association to their mode of delivery. A meta-analysis was carried out according to the identification of concordant neonatal to maternal HPV types. Overall eight studies were included in the meta-analysis. Our pooled results, showed that caesarean section is associated with significantly lower rates of HPV transmission than vaginal birth (14.9% vs. 28.2%, risk ratio or RR: 0.515, 95% confidence interval or CI: 0.34-0.78). The number of caesarean sections needed to prevent one case of perinatal infection (number needed to treat or NNT) would be 7.5. As a conclusion it should be noted that caesarean section decreases the risk for perinatal HPV transmission by approximately 46%. Perinatal transmission still occurs in approximately 15% of the children born by caesarean section.
Keywords: Caesarean vs. vaginal delivery; human papillomavirus; perinatal HPV transmission; vertical HPV transmission.