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Is there a window period for Hepatitis too ?
Nov 23, 2001

Hi, I recently visited a doctor after suffering from fatigue/intermittent fever/loss of appetite for a week. The doctor asked me to take a liver function test. The test results showed liver inflammation : (ALT(GPT) 149H AST(GOT) 89H ALK. PHOS 247H TOTAL BILI 1.1H ) .The doctor suspected possible hepatitis and asked me to undergo Hepatitis panel test. I took the test and the test results came back NEGATIVE for all HEPATITIS A/B/C. The doctor said that it is possibly a minor liver infection that would go off in a week or two.Its been three weeks since and I have not recovered fully. Last week I got myself tested (on my own) for HIV and the results came back NEGATIVE. Now, my question is that could all the results above be affected by window periods (even though I dont remember any activity in the past where I was exposed to possible HIV/Hepatitis infection ). Also, what could be the reason of my liver infection if it is not Hepatitis/HIV. Thank you for your help.

Response from Dr. Rodriguez-Torres

All the hepatitis tests have a "window", when the tests may be negative.The level of your hepatic enzymes were low for acute viral hepatitis,but we could have missed the higher level.Your doctor is also right;there are other causes of liver inflamation,that are not viral hepatitis.I reccomend you to repeat HCV antibody,HBsAg,HBsAb,and HAAb in 2 months,and go from there.In the case of Hepatitis C ,the seroconversion may occur after 1 year,so at times we will not know for a while, what was the cause of the acute hepatitis.If you continue to be very sick,you may have HCV and HBV PCR ,that can document acute infection.These are more expensive tests,that we rarely do in suspected acute cases.



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