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Evaluating Hepatitis B results
Sep 7, 2008

Hello,

I'm asking this on behalf of my girlfriend, who is Chinese, living in China, and for my own peace of mind. I've been doing extensive reading about the disease, even since she told me she had it, but I'm still a little bit fuzzy on some details. To give a general background, she got the virus around the age of 7, where she was pretty sick during this time. Around age 11, it became quite serious, she became very ill, and Jaundice was present.

However, she managed to rid herself of the serious symptoms, and the disease has been quiet ever since. She is currently 22, and for the last 10 years or so, she hasn't any further symptoms or Hep B related illness. Her liver is apparently healthy and her doctors haven't really indicated any worsening in her condition, and it may be gotten slightly better this year.

Her blood results are as follows:

1.(Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive)

2. Hepatitis B surface antibody (Anti-HBs) negative)

3.(HBV e antigen (HBeAg) negative)

4.(hepatitis B e antibody (Anti-HBe) positive

5.(hepatitis B core body (Anti-HBc) positive)

Am I correct in thinking that she might have gone into the inactive carrier stage, and that there's a fairly decent change that she may not develop the truly serious symptoms? I have been hearing that a good percentage of inactive carriers lead good, healthy lives and never develop the liver-threatening illnesses such as Cirrhosis or Liver Cancer.

Also, the disease being as it is presently, would you recommend medication? Or is this likely the type where, as I've read, may not require direct treatment, and instead she should simply check up with her doctors every 6 months or so?

Thank you very much for your time!

Response from Dr. McGovern

She should have measurement of her HBV DNA level to see if she has virus in her blood. If this is the case, then she has active disease. If not then she would be an "inactive" carrier.

I would also want to get liver function tests to see if they are normal or abnormal to get an idea of how active her liver disease might be.

These results will help to determine whether she needs a liver biopsy and consideration for treatment.

New guidelines for the treatment of HBV will be coming out this fall.



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