Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver but can be found throughout the body. In the liver, the body’s response potentially leads to inflammation and scarring. Scarring can progress over years to become cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is a term that denotes a certain stage of scarring. Cirrhosis can be there without symptoms. Cirrhosis can progress to cause further problems and may necessitate liver transplant to be life-prolonging.
HBV is the most common infection in the world, infecting and affecting an estimated one billion people, predominantly those from SE Asia, the Far East and sub-Saharan Africa. People directly or descended from these regions should all be screened for this infection, as it is readily transmitted from mother to fetus. Often adults are unaware they have it. Infection acquired as an infant or child usually lasts life-long, and can have serious consequences.
It is a virus that is particularly easy to spread sexually, though bodily-fluids, IV drug use, tattoos etc. In contrast to the above, although most HBV infection acquired as an adult resolves without complications, it can lead to fulminant (sudden onset) life-threatening disease.
All jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes) warrants investigation for cause.
As always, a thoughtful history and physical exam by a gastroenterologist go a long way to determine what is going on. Tests to determine what is going on may include blood tests, ultrasound or CT scans, liver biopsy and EGD to screen for varices, a complication of cirrhosis if this is suspected.
Based in the heart of Uptown and the Garden District of New Orleans, Dr. Huilgol (”Dr. Viv”), a member of the AASLD (the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases), and the team at NOLA Gastro is committed to working with you to investigate what is going on, so you can make the correct choices for you.
Dr. Huilgol works closely with a prominent HBV expert and the leading liver transplant program in the USA. Ask me how.
GI and Liver health matters. Let’s work it out together.
Call 504-249-5901 and make an appointment…