Viral Hepatitis C
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver. It is caused by an infection of the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
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.
- Treatment for hepatitis C may damage your kidneys and cause side effects, such as flu-like symptoms, depression, and headaches. The earlier hepatitis C is found and treated, the better the chances of preventing future liver problems.
- If hepatitis C is not treated, your liver may become too damaged and stop working. You may get cirrhosis or liver cancer.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
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.
You may have one or more of the following tests:
- Enzyme immunoassay test: This blood test is also called an EIA and checks for hepatitis C antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that attack viruses or bacteria.
- Genotyping: This is a blood test that tests the genotype of the hepatitis C virus that you have. Genotype is the genetic make-up of the virus. Caregivers can decide the length of your treatment with this information.
- Hepatitis C profile serological test: This test checks the activity and number of hepatitis C viruses present in your blood.
- Blood tests: These check the enzymes (chemicals) and other substances made in the liver. Test results tell caregivers how your liver is working.
- Liver biopsy: A liver biopsy is when a small piece of your liver is removed and sent to a lab for tests. Caregivers will clean your skin, and you may be given medicine to numb (lose feeling) in 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.
You may have one or more of the following:
- Antiviral medicines: These medicines help keep the virus from spreading. This may prevent or decrease swelling and damage to the liver.
- Surgery: A liver transplant may be done if your liver stops working. Your diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy and donated liver. You may also have a part of your liver removed.
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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.