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Hepatitis B - frustrated, please help
Jul 25, 2004

Dear Doctor,

I had 3 normal hepatic function tests last year, undetectable HBV DNA by PCR, HBeAG negative and HBeAB positive in mid Jan 2004. The latest hepatic function test with AFP and ultrasound in mid May 2004 was still normal. My questions are:

1. Do I need to repeat the HBV DNA, HBeAG and HBeAB by the end of this year?

2. Do I have a chance to clear the HBsAG since I think I got infected in childhood?

3. In case my HBV DNA becomes detectable. Will it be easy to treat in my case (infected in childhood) and how long it will take to progress to end stage disease?

4. Are there any other ways to protect my liver besides avoiding alcohol, diet and exercise? 5. For the abdominal pain symptom. Is it all over the liver area with constant pain or spot pain?

Please help me. Worry.

Response from Dr. McGovern

It is great news that your hepatitis B E antibody is positive. This indicates that you are doing well. It is also great news that your liver function tests are normal and your AFP and ultrasound are normal. Your panel of tests indicate that you are a carrier of hepatitis B but are an "inactive carrier".

It is recommended that even though your hepatitis B is "inactive" you should still have liver function tests every 6 to 12 months. If they become abnormal, then you can pursue further testing, such as HBV DNA tests.

Your prognosis is excellent. Just keep up the monitoring with your physician who is obviously looking after you quite well. From time to time, you can get testing for hepatitis B surface antigen to see if you have completely resolved your infection, although this does not occur commonly.

I would also get vaccinated for hepatitis A if your blood tests show no prior exposure.

Dr. McGovern



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