Aug 6, 2004
Dr. McGovern, I was given Hep.B Shots when I work at the hospital 4 years ago. Now I have a swollen liver and my doctor said it looked like I was getting over Hep.B and my imune system was very very low to Hepatitis. Now I am having to repeate the shots and they told me I also have a fatty liver and everyone around me should be tested for Hep.B. What does all this mean for me and my family? They talk in circles and never give me a straight answer. Sould I be seeing someone about m liver too? Thank You Rebecca
| Response from Dr. McGovern
Sometimes when patients are vaccinated against hepatitis B, their antibody levels do not rise to "protective" levels. Therefore, if you were somehow exposed to hepatitis B in the hospital (ie a needlestick) you could have acquired hepatitis B which is causing your liver to become "swollen".
I would assume that they are telling you to have your family seen because your physician thinks you recently became infected with hepatitis B which can be spread within households. Your immediate family members should be vaccinated.
You should recover from your hepatitis B infection since the vast majority of patients do. However, this will require follow-up blood testing over 6 months to be certain that all your tests suggest recovery.
If you are also being told of a "fatty liver" this is probably something they are seeing on ultrasound or CT scan. Fatty liver can be just an incidental finding. However, I would ask my doctor if my liver function tests are abnormal after you recover from your hepatitis B. If they remain abnormal, then you may want to pursue a liver biopsy to be certain that the fat in your liver is not inflammed - something called "steatohepatitis." Dr. McGovern
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