Hepatitis A Virus

Other names: HAV

The hepatitis A test is used to test for the presence of the hepatitis A antibody; the antibody is produced by the body in response to the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is a viral infection, which affects the liver. Some people do not suffer any symptoms, while others experience flu-like symptoms. Hepatitis A is the most common form of hepatitis but it is rare in the UK.

When is the test used?

The test is used to diagnose hepatitis A; there are two forms of the test and both test for antibodies. IgM is the first antibody produced by the body in response to the hepatitis A virus. IgG antibodies are produced later than IgM antibodies; they remain in the body for the rest of a person’s life to protect them against the infection if the virus is detected again.

The IgM test is usually ordered when a patient displays symptoms of acute hepatitis A, including jaundice, loss of appetite, dark urine and high temperature. The test may also be ordered of a person has been exposed to hepatitis A.

The IgG test is usually used to monitor the condition of a patient.

A total antibody test, which measures both types of antibody, can be used to detect both active and previous infections. The total antibody test may be used after two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine to see if the vaccine has worked; in many professions, such as the medical profession, it is necessary for employees to have the vaccine.

How is the test carried out?

The test is done by collecting and analysing a sample of blood from a vein in the arm; a needle is inserted into the vein and the blood is drawn out and collected in a syringe. When the doctor has sufficient sample, they will place the blood in a sample bottle, label with bottle with the patient’s name and send it away to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

If the test result is positive and the patient has not had a hepatitis A vaccine, this indicates that they have been infected by the hepatitis A virus. Some people may not suffer any symptoms so they may not be aware that they have been infected.

If a patient has a positive result and they have had the hepatitis A vaccine, this indicates that the vaccine has worked and they are protected against the virus.

Once an individual has been infected by hepatitis A, the antibodies stay in the body for the rest of their life; this means that they are able to fight off the infection if the virus should return.

Specific Blood Tests

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved