Pediatric Hepatitis Panel Testing Questions and Answers
Hepatitis is serious and requires medical attention. There are different types of Hepatitis, and medical help is only a call away. Call Night Lite Pediatrics to book an appointment today. We serve patients from Greater Orlando, Jacksonville, West Melbourne, and Port St Lucie Florida areas.
What are the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis?
The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis will vary from person to person and can change over time. Most patients who have chronic Hepatitis actually don’t show any symptoms of the illness. However, patients with acute Hepatitis will showcase mild symptoms, similar to, and can be mistaken for, the flu. Some patients who suffer from acute Hepatitis might also not show any symptoms.
In cases that do show symptoms, the common ones can include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Aching of the joints
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes
Additional symptoms that some patients experience may include dark-colored urine, light-colored stools and loss of appetite. Mental confusion and fluid in the abdomen known as ascites are some of the more serious complications associated with Hepatitis. Permanent liver damage can be a serious complication in long-term cases of Hepatitis.
What are different types of Hepatitis panels?
There are 3 different types of Hepatitis – Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Each variation of Hepatitis shows up through testing in a different way, and so there are 3 different Hepatitis panels, or blood tests, that can be used to determine what type of Hepatitis a patient has. Between the 3 different panels, the tests will look for different elements of the Hepatitis virus in the blood, which will determine if the patient has Hepatitis, and which type they have:
- Antibodies to fight off an infection that the body produces as a defense against the Hepatitis A virus. This test will indicate if a patient has Hepatitis A now or has had it in the past.
- For a Hepatitis B test, the bloodwork will look for antibodies, similar to the Hepatitis A test, but will also look for antigens. Antigens will show up as part of the virus or bacteria and are the trigger for the body’s immune system to build antibodies to fight the virus or infection. This test will also look for the genetic material, or DNA, of the virus.
- The last test is the Hepatitis C test. This is also a blood test, and in this case, will be looking for the DNA/RNA or genetic material that makes up the Hepatitis virus. This test can also look for any antibodies that the body has made to fight a Hepatitis infection. The antibodies for Hepatitis C will show up in the patient’s blood if they have the virus now or have had it previously.
Identifying which Hepatitis virus a patient has is important, as it will determine the proper treatment to be used and prevent the spread as each one is spread differently.
What is a Hepatitis panel test?
A Hepatitis panel test is a bloodwork test used to determine if a patient currently has, or has previously had, one of the three Hepatitis infections. Like many other blood tests, a blood sample is taken by a trained medical professional, typically from the arm. The sample is then tested in a lab for the presence of DNA, antibodies or antigens common to Hepatitis infections. The blood test for Hepatitis will feel no different from a standard blood test, with the patient feeling a quick pinch or sting at the initial entrance of the needle through the skin.
Will my child need a Hepatitis Panel Testing if they are showing signs of Hepatitis?
Any person showing symptoms or signs of Hepatitis should be tested for the virus, regardless of age. Testing allows doctors to rule out any other issues that could potentially be causing the symptoms and narrow in on the root source of the issue. Proper and accurate diagnosis of Hepatitis, and any medical condition, will allow the patient to be prescribed the proper treatment. It will also prevent the further spread of the virus from one infected person to a healthy individual. Once confirmed, the patient can work with their doctor to determine the initial source of the infection as that person may not be exhibiting symptoms and could unknowingly affect others.