Oct 31, 2005
I was wondering about more information on Hepatitis B. I was born with Hepatitis B by my birth mother in Korea. I was adopted at 6 years of age by two American parents. According to my adopted parents, I was treated for the Hepatitis B in Korea and the Hepatitis B was in remission. Also when I came to America, I had a check up done by my pediatrician and they said that my Hepatitis B was in remission and that I was fine. Im 22 and just had my first baby and during the pregnancy, I had lab worked done and the test showed that the Hepatitis was active and a lot of the virus is in my system. If I had not had a baby, I would have never know about my hepatitis being active. Since after the pregnancy I am seeing a liver doctor and I had a lot of lab worked done and an ultrasound of abdomen. The live doctor said that everything looked fine but they still want to do a liver biopsy. Is the biopsy necessary since all the tests showed that my liver is fine? Also how is my hepatitis B active now when it was in remission? According to my doctor, if the liver biopsy test shows that the hepatitis B is affecting my liver, then I am a candidate for treatment, but if the biopsy shows that the hepatitis B is not affecting my liver, then I will not be a candidate for the medication. I wondering how I was able to get my hepatitis in remission in Korea and now I have to be a candidate to get treated. He also stated that I have to see him every 6 months for blood work and an ultrasound. I have had hepatitis my whole life; was I suppose to see a liver doctor to get regular tests done from the day of birth?
Response from Dr. Dieterich
This is a very good question. The test used for HBV viral load was not sensitive enough to detect your level before. It is a relatively new test.15 years ago there was no real treatment for HBV anyway. Now there are many treatments and they are relatively easy. You are very young and have a lot to live for, your baby! The stakes here are very high because HBV can cause liver disease and liver cancer after 30 years or so. I would be in favor of a liver biopsy too, I recommend it for most of my patients. I would also be in favor of treating your HBV aggessively even if it has not damaged your liver yet, because you have a lot of years ahead of you and we need to plan for a long life for you! Good luck! DTD
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