FAQs

TMT (Tread Mill Test) is the recording of heart’s electrical activity while it is under the stress of increased physical demand. This is also known as exercise tolerance test or Cardiac Stress test. Chest, arms and legs are involved in TMT test. The TMT at Elbit Diagnostics assess the heart muscle’s response to the need for additional oxygen, which occurs during increased physical activity. The uses of TMT are:

  • To evaluate if complaints of chest pain are related to the heart
  • To determine if blockages exist in a coronary artery or arteries supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood (coronary heart disease or CHD)
  • To identify an irregular heart rhythm that only occurs during activity
  • To monitor the heart’s response to cardiac treatment or a procedure to open a coronary artery
  • To determine a safe level of participation before the start of an exercise regimen
  • To plan the pace and intensity of rehabilitation after a heart attack
  • To screen for the presence of asymptomatic CHD in certain high risk people

The Renal Ultrasound test uses sound waves to study the renal system, which includes the kidneys, bladder and ureters.

The test involves kidneys, bladder, ureters, abdomen and back.

The patient should avoid carbonated drinks, such as sodas and seltzers before the test. The patient must have a full bladder for the test, and should not empty his/her bladder until after the renal ultrasound.

No anesthesia or any special intervention is required during the procedure. A lead shield is placed over you to protect your reproductive organs. You lie on your back underneath the X ray machine, and remain still while the X-ray is taken. You may be asked to shift to other positions for more X-rays. These X-rays may be taken with you standing up or lying down - the X-ray technician will help position you against the film (which looks like a large board) so that the clearest pictures may be obtained. Usually pictures from both a front view and a side view are taken.

For cervical spine x -rays (neck X-rays), you will be instructed at times to open your mouth as wide as you can. This is so that your teeth are moved out of the way in some pictures and don't block the view of the bones that are highest up in your spine. For chest X-rays, you will be asked to take in a deep breath just before each picture is taken.

The technician will leave the room or stand behind a screen while he or she controls the X-ray camera. Our technician requires no special intervention during the X-ray test. The image generated from X rays due to differential absorption by bones and tissues is taken on a cassette. You may resume all normal activity after the procedure.

The imaging procedure will not last for more than 10 minutes. However it will take the X-ray department between 20 and 40 minutes to develop the pictures from your X-ray. It will take additional time for a doctor to examine the X-ray and to decide how it looks. Typically you can get the results on the same day the X-ray was taken.

Te head CT Scan is an X-ray scan that utilizes a computer to produce cross-sectional images of the head and brain. A CT scan is done to study the skull, brain, jaw, sinuses and facial bones for signs of injuries, tumors or other disease.

The doctor may recommend a head CT if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Head Injury or injury to the face or eyes
  • Dizziness or problems with balance
  • Pain
  • Confusion
  • Behavior or personality change
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Swelling in the face, head or neck

Many conditions and diseases can be diagnosed with a head CT at Elbit. These include:

  • Brain tumor
  • Spread of cancer from another location (metastases)
  • Cysts
  • Congenital brain malformations
  • Bleeding
  • Strokes
  • Aneurysm
  • Swelling due to concussion or other trauma or due to infection
  • Sinus disease
  • Fractures of the skull, jaw or facial bones
  • Hydrocephalus (excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the head)
  • Abscess
  • Chronic sinusitis

The use of low-dose X-rays (radiation) to make a picture of the tissue inside the breast. The resulting picture is called a mammogram.

No diagnostic tests are necessary before a mammogram, although monthly self-exams and yearly exams by your regular practitioner are recommended. Schedule a mammogram when breast tissue is least tender, typically a week after your period. Some women report less discomfort if they avoid caffeinated beverages and take 400 IU of vitamin E per day for several weeks before the exam.

  • If you have breast implants, ask if the facility uses special techniques to accommodate implants, before making an appointment; implants make it more difficult to see all the breast tissue.
  • Do not apply deodorant, talcum powder, lotion or perfume near your breasts or under your arms on the day of your mammogram
  • Wear a two-piece outfit; you will need to remove all of your clothing and jewellery from the waist up and change into a gown that opens in the front
  • Bring copies of precious mammograms and reports with you
  • Inform the technician if you are pregnant or have breast implants.
  • Describe any breast problems to the technician before X-rays are taken

The abdominal CT scan is an X-ray scan to produce the cross-sectional images of the abdomen. A serum creatinine test may be conducted before abdominal CT scan if our radiologist feels the need.

No Anesthesia is needed, however if a contrast dye is needed, it is either injected into a vein or you will drink it in the form of solution. You'll be positioned on a special movable table, called Gantry, partway inside the CT scanner, which is usually donut shaped.

The gantry advances you very slowly through the CT scanner. You'll need to be very still during the entire test. As the operator initiates the scan, the X-ray unit inside the scanner will rotate around your body emitting a fan shaped X-ray beam into your body. This penetrates into your body and is received by the detector and converted into electrical data. This data is processed into images that appear on the computer inside a separate console room, our expert radiologist/technicians in the console room are always alert to your safety concerns while the equipment is in operation.

Our technician may ask you to hold your breath at certain points, so that movement does not blur the picture. You are able to talk to our technician and/or doctor during the exam, so if you are in pain, frightened or concerned in any way, you can communicate this immediately to our technician who keep you in view at all the times.

A special speaker is used to deliver any instructions to you. When you receive an injection of contrast dye, you may feel flushed and you may notice a salty or metallic taste in your mouth. Some people experience brief nausea as the dye circulates. However all such symptoms are transient.

A Holter monitor is a test that allows your doctor to see whether there are changes in the heart's rhythm or electrical appearance over a longer period of time than can be easily observed during one doctor's test. The chest and the heart are involved in the test.

The complete test may be conducted for 24 hours or 48 hours for which the device shall be on your body. However the time at the center is around 15 minutes for attaching the equipment on your body and another 15 minutes after the results are to be collected. It may take a day or so before your recordings are printed and examined.

At Elbit we assure you of an accurate test analysis as long as you follow our instructions. Our technicians shall provide you with all the instructions, hook up procedures and recorder maintenance. The Holter test at Elbit provides you with the best digital recording and analysis techniques to locate minor rhythm changes in your heart difficult to examine by conventional techniques.

A Holter monitor is a test that allows your doctor to see whether there are changes in the heart's rhythm or electrical appearance over a longer period of time than can be easily observed during one doctor's test. The chest and the heart are involved in the test.

The complete test may be conducted for 24 hours or 48 hours for which the device shall be on your body. However the time at the center is around 15 minutes for attaching the equipment on your body and another 15 minutes after the results are to be collected. It may take a day or so before your recordings are printed and examined.

At Elbit we assure you of an accurate test analysis as long as you follow our instructions. Our technicians shall provide you with all the instructions, hook up procedures and recorder maintenance. The Holter test at Elbit provides you with the best digital recording and analysis techniques to locate minor rhythm changes in your heart difficult to examine by conventional techniques.

No Anesthesia is required during the test. You lie on a table and the doctor applies a sound conducting jelly to your abdomen over your bladder and kidneys. The ultrasound machine has a hand-held instrument called a transducer or a probe, which looks like a microphone or wand. The probe is passed over the skin where the jelly was applied, It sends sound waves into the body, which bounce off the internal organs and echo back to the transducer. The echoes are converted to images that are displayed on a screen. Our radiologist examines the images on the screen and may take a photograph for further assessment.

The "Logiq 7 Standard" ultrasound equipment from GE Medical Systems installed at Elbit has as many as 12 different probes to diagnose a variety of tissues. The scan image can be adjusted using the:

  • B mode (for 2D images for the anatomical structure of soft tissues)
  • M mode (to display tissue motion over time)
  • Colour flow mode (to add colour coded qualitative information in any modes)
  • Doppler mode (to provide velocity of moving tissues and fluids or to examine blood flow data selectively from any region) and
  • 3 D mode (to visualize 3 dimensional images)

Correct patient identification is done through a special Patient touch pane, which stores all your details. Special features on our equipment allow visualization of complex blood flows and tissues, image storage facilities and graphic tools for designing customized reports. At the end of this procedure the ultrasound image is examined for abnormal masses or blockages.

The entire procedure can take around 30-45 minutes.

To understand this first we need to understand "Osteoporosis". Osteoporosis is the condition of having weak or thin bones, which are more susceptible to fracture, even with minimal injury. Osteoporosis can result in vertebral fractures, which cause a stooping over of the spine. Osteoporosis can also increase the risk of hip fractures, a major problem for older people. Because there are now some treatments to help build up bones in patients who have osteoporosis, it is helpful to have a test that will show how weak a patients' bones. This test is the "bone density" test, also called "Bone Densitometry".

With the help of the information about bone density the Bone Densitometry test at Elbit helps us diagnose: 

  • Low Bone Density/Bone Mass
  • Height Loss
  • Pulmonary dysfunction
  • Fractures (hip, vertebral, forearm etc)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Malabsorbtion Syndrome
  • Premature menopause
  • Prolonged Amenorrhea
  • Hyper Parathyroidism
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver disease

To understand this first we need to understand "Osteoporosis". Osteoporosis is the condition of having weak or thin bones, which are more susceptible to fracture, even with minimal injury. Osteoporosis can result in vertebral fractures, which cause a stooping over of the spine. Osteoporosis can also increase the risk of hip fractures, a major problem for older people. Because there are now some treatments to help build up bones in patients who have osteoporosis, it is helpful to have a test that will show how weak a patients' bones. This test is the "bone density" test, also called "Bone Densitometry".

With the help of the information about bone density the Bone Densitometry test at Elbit helps us diagnose: 

  • Low Bone Density/Bone Mass
  • Height Loss
  • Pulmonary dysfunction
  • Fractures (hip, vertebral, forearm etc)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Malabsorbtion Syndrome
  • Premature menopause
  • Prolonged Amenorrhea
  • Hyper Parathyroidism
  • Kidney Failure
  • Liver disease

No Anesthesia is required and all you need to do is to stand/sit in front of our special x-ray machine.

You stand in front of a special X-ray machine, which has a platform to place your breast on. Our technician adjusts the height of the platform, then lifts and positions one breast between a special cassette that holds the film and a compressor paddle that holds your breast. The paddle is brought close to the platform and the breast is compressed to hold it in place and allow for a clearer image. You can tell our technician if the plate compresses so tightly that it feels painful.

Two pictures of each breast are taken during a screening mammogram. During one, you face toward the platform and the image is taken looking down at the breast. For the second, you turn slightly to allow for an oblique view. These X-rays are repeated on the other breast. Extra images, from different angles, may be necessary if you have breast implants. You'll be asked to wait at the facility until the X-rays are developed, in case more images are needed.

CD markers are specific sites on the surface of white blood cells. They are unique to different types of white blood cells. By identifying these sites on a cell, the cell can be identified. They are the sites on which an antigen can bind and initiate the immune response of your body

CD3, CD 4 & CD8 are the common markers used. CD3 identifies lymphocytes. CD 4 identifies one specific sub set of lymphocyte called the ‘Helper T cells’ and CD 8 identifies the other subset called the ‘Suppressor or Cytotoxic T-Cells’

As the CD markers are involved in immune response of the body, the body’s immunity to infections can be confirmed and monitored by measuring these markers. The body’s response to transplantation can also be monitored. By using these markers, the type of cancer cell can also be identified. But their most common application has been in HIV infection.

When the doctor wants to check your immune status he will ask for this test. This test is also essential before starting you on ART, if you are HIV infected.

An abnormal result will be better interpreted by your doctor who knows your history and clinical status. An abnormal result would warrant more close follow up of your health status and if necessary, modification of the treatment by your doctor.

A base level CD3, CD4 & CD8 count should be done before starting ART, there after it has to be done once in at least 2-8 weeks for monitoring. Following diagnosis of HIV infection, CD counts should be done once in 3-4months to monitor the progression of infection.

No special preparation is required for the test. The sample can be given for testing any time of the day.

The sample is collected by trained laboratory technicians by introducing a small needle into one of your arm veins. About 3mL of blood is collected in a purple tube and transported to the laboratory. The test is done on a special instrument called 'FACSCalibur' that works on flow cytometry principle.

Your doctors will advice you on these. Try to seek medical attention immediately following any minor ailments.

Elbit centers are open from 6AM in the morning till 9PM in the evening on all the working days. On holidays, the centers are open from 6AM to 2PM. Reports can be downloaded from website.

HLA-B27 is a blood test to look for a specific protein found on the surface of white blood cells. The protein is called human leukocyte antigen B27 (HLA-B27). Human leukocyte antigens (HLAs) are proteins that help the body's immune system to differentiate between its own cells and foreign, harmful substances.

Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic. An elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and cause the vein to swell with blood. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight purple color tube. During the procedure, the band is removed to restore circulation. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.

No special preparation is necessary for the test

No special preparation is necessary for the test

Your doctor may order this test if you have pain in the neck, chest, eyes or other joints, stiffness or swelling. HLA type B27 is associated with autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, Reactive arthritis, Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, anterior uveitis and Reiter syndrome. The test may be done along with other tests, including an ESR, C-reactive protein, and rheumatoid factor. HLA antigen testing is also used to match donated tissue to organ recipients. For example, it may be done when a person needs a kidney transplant or bone marrow transplant.

The HLA-B27 test is primarily ordered to help strengthen or confirm a suspected diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), reactive arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), or sometimes anterior uveitis. The HLA-B27 test is not a definitive test that can be used to diagnose or rule out a disorder. It is used as one piece of evidence in a constellation of signs, symptoms, and lab tests to support or rule out the diagnosis of certain autoimmune disorders, such as AS and reactive arthritis. AS and reactive arthritis are both chronic, progressive conditions that occur more frequently in men than women. The first symptoms typically occur when a person is in their early 30's. Often, the initial symptoms of these autoimmune disorders are subtle and may take several years before characteristic degenerative changes to bones and joints are visible on X-rays.

A normal (negative) result means HLA-B27 is absent. However, HLA-B27 is found in 5 - 7% of people who do not have an autoimmune disorder.

A positive test means HLA-B27 is present. It suggests a greater-than-average risk for developing:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Reiter syndrome
  • Sacro iliitis (inflammation of the sacroiliac joint)

In the presence of suggestive clinical findings, a positive HLA-B27 test may confirm the diagnosis.

If a person is positive for HLA-B27 and has symptoms such as chronic pain, inflammation, and/ or degenerative changes to his bones (as seen on X-ray), then it supports a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, or another autoimmune disorder that is associated with the presence of HLA-B27. This is especially true if the person is young, male, and if he experienced his first symptoms before the age of 40. If HLA-B27 is negative, then the association is not there. This does not, however, mean that the person does not have the suspected condition, as a certain percentage of people with each disorder will be HLA-B27 negative. Whether or not HLA antigens will be present is genetically determined. Their production is controlled by genes that are passed from parents to children. If a person has a close family member with an HLA-B27 related disease that affects the joints of the spine (AS or other related condition) and is positive for the HLA-B27 antigen, then that person is at an increased risk of developing a similar disease.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that commonly affects the lungs, but can affect any part of the body. It develops slowly and can lead to prolonged ill health. It is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. There are several other subtypes of this bacterium that are grouped together as 'Atypical Mycobacteria or MOTT or NTM'.

There are several tests that are used for screening for the disease, diagnosis of the disease and for the confirmation of the disease.

The diagnostic tests for Tuberculosis are the culture isolation of the bacteria from the sample and the PCR test. A conventional culture is not so sensitive as compared to the culture test done on an automated instrument. Positivity can be picked up in an automated culture system as early as 10days. However the results will be available only after 6weeks. Also automated culture & PCR tests can differentiate between typical Mycobacterium and NTM more accurately.

PCR - Polymerase chain reaction is one of the most sensitive tests for confirmation of tuberculosis infection from site specific samples. This test involves identification of the bacterial product in human cells.

The test is performed by extracting the DNA / RNA from the cells by using automated equipments followed by identification of the bacterial product, its multiplication and identification on automated instruments. The presence or absence of the infectious genome and the number of copies if present can be measured. Real time PCR is the latest and more accurate technology.

No special preparation is required for the test. The commonly used samples are sputum, pus, urine, body fluids and tissue samples that is collected by the doctor. All the samples have to be collected in sterile containers provided by the lab. Blood can be used for testing only if the patient has disseminated tuberculosis.

The test is done initially for the diagnosis of the disease. The frequency would be determined by the doctor depending upon the response to treatment.

The commonly used samples are sputum, pus, urine, body fluids and tissue samples that is collected by the doctor. All the samples have to be collected in sterile containers provided by the lab. Blood can be used for testing only if the patient has disseminated tuberculosis.

A negative (Not Detected) PCR test indicates that the patient may not be infected with Tuberculosis Bacteria. A positive PCR result indicates that the patient has Tuberculosis bacteria in the sample. However, a negative result does not rule out the absence of the bacteria. Similarly a positive result does not indicate that the patient is suffering from the disease. Similarly a positive culture indicates that the Tuberculosis bacteria has been isolated and grown from the sample, and the patient is infected with Tuberculosis.

The TB bacteria can become resistant to a drug or several drugs used to treat the disease. Drug resistance can occur when TB patients do not adhere to their prescribed drug regimens, health professionals prescribe an incorrect treatment regimen, or an unreliable drug supply interrupts patients' treatment. This means that the drug can no longer kill the bacteria. Drug resistance is more common in people who have spent time with someone with drug-resistant TB disease; do not take their medicine regularly; do not take all of their prescribed medicine; develop TB disease after having taken TB medicine in the past; or come from areas where drug-resistant TB is common. Sometimes the bacteria become resistant to more than one drug. This is called multidrug-resistant TB, or MDR-TB. People with MDR-TB disease must be treated with specific drugs that often are much more expensive than conventional therapy.

THIV/AIDS and TB are so closely connected that the terms "co-epidemic" or "dual epidemic" often are used to describe their relationship. The dual epidemic often is called TB/HIV or HIV/TB. HIV affects the immune system and increases the likelihood that people will acquire new TB infection. HIV also can facilitate both the progression of latent TB infection to active disease and relapse of the disease in previously treated patients. TB is one of the leading causes of death in HIV-positive people.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that weakens the immune system, making it harder to fight off infections. While HIV causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), people who test positive for HIV do not necessarily have AIDS. Scary as this may sound, it's possible to have HIV for years and not develop or show any signs of the disease.

Everyone can get HIV. Most people get the virus by having sex with an infected person, sharing needles with an infected person, or from childbirth. HIV is not transmitted by saliva or by toilet seats. You can't get it from sharing towels or shaking hands.

- Rapid Test 
A rapid test for detecting antibodies to HIV is a screening test that produces very quick results, usually in 5 to 30 minutes.

- ELISA
This is the first step of an HIV test. This test detects the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood. If the test is negative then the person is determined not to be HIV infected and testing stops there. If the test is positive the second step of the test is run to confirm the positive results of the first step. 

- Western Blot
This test is used to confirm the positive Elisa test results. The Western Blot test detects specific protein bands that are present in an HIV infected individual. In combination with a positive Elisa, a positive Western Blot is 99.9 percent accurate in detecting that HIV infection has occurred.

- HIV PCR TEST

The HIV PCR test detects specific Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) sequences that indicate the presence of HIV in the genetic structure of anyone HIV infected. After HIV infection occurs, RNA and DNA from the HIV virus circulates in the blood. The presence of these DNA and RNA "pieces" indicates the presence of HIV virus. Real time PCR is the most sensitive and accurate technology.

No special preparation is required for the test.

The basic test for HIV infection diagnosis is an ELISA test. As the window period of HIV infection varies between 3wks to 6months, diagnosis of HIV infection during this period by ELISA is difficult. Hence PCR tests play a vital role.

- HIV Proviral DNA test can detect HIV infection as early as 10days following exposure. 
- A qualitative HIV RNA PCR will detect virus by about 6-8weeks and this test should be done whenever there is a strong history of infection but ELISA is negative. 
- HIV quantitative PCR (Viral load) test is done to monitor patients with HIV infection, at the initiation of ART and for monitoring patients on ART.

For a patient who is on ART, viral load test should be done at least once in 2 - 3 months.

The PCR test for HIV is done only on blood samples.

A negative result means there's no evidence of HIV DNA cells. If you test positive, be aware that this sensitive test may indicate a "false positive" or "indeterminate" result. A follow up ELISA test will have to be performed.

The HIV DNA test is one of the most technically advanced HIV tests available. It uses a sophisticated diagnostic technology called Real Time PCR to detect the DNA strands of the HIV virus in your blood cells. The HIV DNA test detects an HIV infection more accurately and more quickly after a possible exposure than the HIV Antibody test. The HIV DNA test can detect the virus as early as 10 days after possible exposure,

A person once infected with HIV virus will remain infected throughout his life. There is no cure for HIV infection. There are no vaccines available.

Hepatitis B is caused by a virus called Hepatitis B that is transmitted through exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood. Possible forms of transmission include sexual contact, blood transfusions, re-use of contaminated needles & syringes, and vertical transmission from mother to child during childbirth. Without intervention, a mother who is positive for HBsAg confers a 20% risk of passing the infection to her offspring at the time of birth. This risk is as high as 90% if the mother is also positive for HBeAg. HBV can be transmitted between family members within households, possibly by contact of non intact skin or mucous membrane with secretions or saliva containing HBV. Chronic (lifelong) infection with HBV can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. About 60-80% of primary liver cancer worldwide is caused by chronic HBV infection.

Yes. There are Hepatitis A virus, Hepatitis C virus & Hepatitis E virus that can cause liver disease.

Infection with HBV can cause both short-term (acute) disease and long-term (chronic) disease. Acute HBV: When symptoms occur, they include loss of appetite, weakness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), dark urine, skin rashes and joint pain. The incubation period is usually 3 to 4 months. The case-fatality rate is about 1 to 2 percent. Chronic HBV infection: Persons with chronic HBV infection often do not feel sick for decades after infection, but between 15 and 25 percent will die of liver cancer or cirrhosis-scarring of the liver (Margolis, et al, 1995). Chronic carriers of HBV are also capable of spreading the disease to others.

Hepatitis B infection can be diagnosed by various blood tests, common one being HBsAg. Individuals who remain HBsAg positive for at least six months are considered to be hepatitis B carriers. Other tests include screening for the presence of Hepatitis B envelop antigen, Antibodies to envelop antigen, surface antigen and core antigens.

Hepatitis B infection can be diagnosed by various blood tests, common one being HBsAg. Individuals who remain HBsAg positive for at least six months are considered to be hepatitis B carriers. Other tests include screening for the presence of Hepatitis B envelop antigen, Antibodies to envelop antigen, surface antigen and core antigens.

PCR tests have been developed to detect and measure the amount of HBV DNA in clinical specimens. These tests are used to assess a person's infection status and to monitor treatment.

No special preparation is required for any of the blood tests for Hepatitis B infection. Blood sample will be collected by trained technicians by inserting a needle into the vein in the upper arm.

A negative PCR result indicates that the Hepatitis B viral genome is absent in the sample and hence the patient does not have Hepatitis B infection. A positive qualitative PCR test result means that the person is infected with Hepatitis B. A quantitative test result measures the amount of virus in per mL of sample.

If a HBV DNA qualitative test is positive, it should be followed by a viral load test before initiation of anti viral therapy. This is followed by repetition of the viral load test at least once in 3months during treatment to monitor the response.

The hepatitis B vaccine provides an easy and effective method for preventing HBV infection and its deadly implications of liver cancer and liver failure. The vaccination is so effective that the World Health Organization calls the hepatitis B vaccine the first "anti-cancer" vaccine. Based on current data, routine booster doses of hepatitis B vaccine are not recommended. Universal hepatitis B vaccination hopefully will one day eradicate this devastating infection.

Acute jaundice due to Hepatitis B is a self-limiting illness. There is no known cure for chronic Hepatitis B infection. The drugs like Phyllanthus amarus, Lamivudine and Alpha interferon are being evaluated by Indian scientists. The trials with interferon & the antiviral Lamivudine indicate that not only is the duration of therapy long (about 2 years) but it costs about Rs.175,000 to 200,000 per patient. Even with this regimen the efficacy of therapy is about 20-40%

Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Hepatitis C can be either "acute" or "chronic." Acute Hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis C virus remains in a person's body. Hepatitis C virus infection can last a lifetime and lead to serious liver problems, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. People can become infected with the Hepatitis C virus during such activities as

  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs
  • Needle stick injuries in health care settings
  • Being born to a mother who has Hepatitis C Less commonly, a person can also get Hepatitis C virus infection through
  • Sharing personal care items that may have come in contact with another person’s blood, such as razors or toothbrushes
  • Having sexual contact with a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis C is rarely passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. About 4 of every 100 infants born to mothers with Hepatitis C become infected with the virus. However, the risk becomes greater if the mother has both HIV infection and Hepatitis C.

About 70 - 80% of patients do not have any symptoms. However, some patients may have fever, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, vomiting, pain abdomen, dark color urine, jaundice and joint pains. Chronic Hepatitis C infection is asymptomatic and will be diagnosed only during a routine blood test.

Several different blood tests are used to test for Hepatitis C. A doctor may order just one or a combination of these tests. Typically, a person will first get a screening test that will show whether he or she has developed antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. (An antibody is a substance found in the blood that the body produces in response to a virus.) Having a positive antibody test means that a person was exposed to the virus at some time in his or her life. If the antibody test is positive, a doctor will most likely order a second test to confirm whether the virus is still present in the person's bloodstream i.e., a PCR test.

PCR tests have been developed to detect and measure the amount of HCV RNA in clinical specimens. These tests are used to assess a person's infection status and to monitor treatment.

No special preparation is required for any of the blood tests for Hepatitis B infection. Blood sample will be collected by trained technicians by inserting a needle into the vein in the upper arm.

If there is a strong clinical history of Hepatitis C infection, the doctor may suggest Hepatitis C qualitative PCR test irrespective of antibody test result. If treatment is planned, then the Hepatitis C quantitative PCR viral load test is done that needs to be repeated at least once in 3 months during the course of treatment. Hepatitis C genotyping test is done before initiating treatment to assess the outcome.

There are six different types of Hepatitis C virus - Genotype 1 to 6. It is essential to do this test as the response to treatment depends on the type of genotype.

A positive qualitative test result means that the person is suffering from Hepatitis C infection. A quantitative PCR test indicates the amount of virus present per mL of blood sample.

As of now, there is no vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis C infection.

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