Hi ive had 3 blood tests relating to my liver the past 2 months and have hepatitis for about 17 years or so.
Can anyone please tell me what a blood test for RT Hep C PCR means in terms i can understand. Thank you very much.
It is a way of detecting the virus, follow the link for an explanation
A Tale of Two Strands: Reverse-Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction Detection of Hepatitis C Virus Replication
I found this link which I have an excepted below:
Hepatitis C viruses are not all the same. Certainly, they are all identified as hepatitis C viruses and they all can cause acute and chronic hepatitis C, but they're not exactly genetically alike. They have slightly different variations in their genes and are grouped by these variations into different genotypes.
More About Hepatitis C Genotypes
Genotypes are important because hepatitis C viruses with certain genetic variations are harder to treat successfully and usually require a different treatment approach. Other hepatitis C viruses are much easier to treat because they respond well to shorter treatment schedules. Doctors determine your HCV genotype by using a laboratory test called RT-PCR, which stands for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. This test analyzes the genetic material of the virus to determine its sequence. Based on its sequence, technicians can determine the virus' genotype. All blood testing requires a certain level of training and equipment, but RT-PCR requires relatively more. Because of this, it's an expensive test (it usually costs more than $100 to perform). However, it's worth the cost. Knowing your genotype can significantly reduce the duration of your treatment.
Genotype 1 is the most common type of Hepatitis C genotype in the United States and the most difficult to treat. For physicians, knowing the genotype of Hepatitis C is helpful in making a therapeutic recommendation. Individuals with genotypes 2 and 3 are almost three times more likely than individuals with genotype 1 to respond to therapy with alpha interferon or the combination of alpha interferon and ribavirin. Furthermore, when using combination therapy, the recommended duration of treatment depends on the genotype. For this reason, testing for Hepatitis C genotype is often clinically helpful. Once the genotype is identified, it need not be tested again as genotypes do not change during the course of infection.
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