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Viral Hepatitis B


Hepatitis B is an inflammation of the liver. It is caused by an infection of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). The infection is called acute when a person first becomes infected. The infection becomes chronic (long-term) when a person has symptoms for 6 months or longer.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • Even with treatment, your HBV may cause damage to your liver. If you need cancer treatment or take certain other medicines, your HBV may return or get worse. This includes medicines you take after an organ or bone marrow transplant or to treat HIV or autoimmune disorders.

  • Without treatment, your risk for chronic HBV, cirrhosis, liver fibrosis (scarring), and liver failure increases. You may get an infection in your abdomen, and you may have bleeding in your stomach and esophagus. Liver disease may lead to increased pressure in your brain. Your risk for liver cancer also increases.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.


Your activity may be limited while you are in the hospital to help avoid any injury to your abdomen. Follow your caregiver's instructions about what activities are okay.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Abdominal ultrasound: An abdominal ultrasound uses sound waves to look at your liver. Pictures of your liver will show up on a monitor. An ultrasound may be done to check liver problems caused by your HBV.

  • Liver biopsy: During a liver biopsy, a small sample of your liver is removed. The liver sample is sent to a lab to check for swelling, scarring, and other damage. Caregivers will clean your skin, and you may be given medicine to numb the area. A needle is put through the wall of your abdomen or between your ribs. The needle is put into the liver and a small piece is taken out. A bandage will be placed over the area.

Treatment options:

  • Medicines:

    • Antiviral medicines: Antiviral medicine helps fight the virus that causes hepatitis B and keep it from spreading in your body.

    • Immune globulin: Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) helps your body fight the HBV infection. HBIG is also given to newborn babies who were exposed to HBV while in the womb.

  • Liver transplant: A liver transplant is surgery to replace your diseased liver with a donor liver. You may need a liver transplant if you have severe liver disease or liver failure.

  • Plasma or platelet transfusions: You may need a transfusion of plasma or platelets if your blood is not clotting as it should. Plasma and platelets are parts of your blood that help your blood clot. You will get the transfusion through an IV.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Viral Hepatitis B (Inpatient Care)