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Hepatitis C : Questions

Hello,


Thank you for reading my message.


My PCP did my annual physical last week, and my Hepatitis C AB test result came as positive. I am waiting for the results for the HCV RNA PCR. I cannot recall if this test was ever done before.


I have never done drugs or used needles in my life. I cannot think of a single activity that I have done in my life where there was a blood-to-blood transfer between me and someone else. I live alone and do not indulge in any sexual activity. I am male, 45, 5 ft 8, 135 lbs, work out twice per week with dumbbells and eat a plant-based diet.


The only way I can think of having contracted Hep C is when I get my blood drawn for my doctor visits (every 6 months or so) at a hospital lab due to improper use of the needles by the nurse, which seems unlikely as I always see them open a new syringe before drawing my blood.


Medications:

Spironolactone: 50 mg for my retinal condition

Cabergoline 0.5 mg for elevated prolactin

Letrozole for elevated estrogen

Vitamin D supplement.


Questions:

1) Given the above background, I am trying to figure out how my Hep C Antibody came as positive.  Any responses would be helpful.


2) How long does it take to get results for the HCV RNA PCR test?


Thank you
2 Responses
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683231 tn?1467323017
The couple of tests that are only a point or two out of normal aren’t really significant. When something goes sideways test results get very abnormal so I wouldn’t really worry about those.

When I had hep c my ALT and AST were slightly elevated always less than 100 probably like 80’s  or similar. Just indicating my liber was being slightly injured every day.

Once I developed liver cirrhosis my platelets count fell to about 80 (min normal is 150). Since I was cured my platelets have slowly crept back up and are now around 125 still lower but closer.

Your liver tests are good so that’s a good sign. It’s doubtful you would have gotten hep c in the ways you mentioned. Every medical facility should be following best practice protocols especially if they want to keep their license. There have been some scandals I recall a colonoscopy center were they were double dipping into the vial of anesthesia and spreading blood borne viruses. But thankfully there are rare occurrences.

Yes those doctors would be fine as well as an infectious  disease specialist. But really many General Practitioners are versed in how to follow a patient treating hep c.

And all this would depend if you even have hep c.

As to blood in urine I guess that’s more of a kidney issue.

Best    
Helpful - 0
5 Comments
Hello Flyinlynn,

Thank you so much for reading my long messages and answering  my  questions !!  I am very grateful.

I am happy that you are doing and feeling better!! I will keep you posted once I get the HCV RNA results.

Regards
Hello Flyinlynn,

I just received my HCV RNA PCR results and it says, "No current HCV infection" and has the table as  below:

HCV RNA PCR :     Target Not Detected IU/mL      (Standard Range :  <15 IU/m)

Do I need any additional testing?



The HCV RNA by PCR test is definitive you don’t not have the hep c virus congrats!

Unfortunately, you  will likely continue to test positive for hep c antibodies which will bar you from ever donating blood.
Hello Flyinlynn,

Got it. Please know that you were amazing in every one of your answers to my questions!!  Thank you so much for reading my long messages and responding in such an informative way

Hope everything goes well with you!!

Regards
Aww shucks and thanks

Good luck!
683231 tn?1467323017
There are on rare occasions false positives. So for the moment take a breath.

It takes I believe 3 to 5 days for the HCV RNA by PCR test results to come back.

“ False-positive results appear to be common. According to a 2017 report , 22 percent of 479 subjects received a false-positive anti-HCV test. According to a 2020 report, the rate of false-positive test results among 1,814 reactive serum samples was 10 percent”

https://www.healthline.com/health/hepatitis-c-false-positive#how-common-is-it


Good luck sending you wishes for negative test results
Helpful - 0
6 Comments
Thank you for your answer!!
Sure thing! Let me know how it goes if you would. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.
Certainly will.  If the HCV RNA PCR comes as positive:

1) Will the results also contain the genetic sub-type or is that a separate test I should ask for?

2) Would you recommend I see a Gastroentologist or a Heptalogist?
Well I believe they might test the sample for genotype if it tests positive or yes that would need to be tested for.  I would hope your doctor would know that needs to happen.

With the recent great improvements in treatment unless you have liver disease your general practitioner should be able to handle your treatment.

You treatment could be as simple as one pill a day for 12 or even just 8 weeks and you would be cured assuming you have hep c.

Did they test your liver enzymes? Are you ALT and AST in normal range? It is fairly common in hep c infection for those liver enzymes to be slightly elevated as the liver is basically under attach from the virus. But in early infection liver enzymes may still be in normal range.

I was treated by a hepatologist as I was infected for 37 years before I was finally cured of hep c on my 5th attempt at cure my second with the new generation medicines. But by that time my liver had become very damaged. So even though my hep c was cured in 2015 I still get regular testing and see my hepatologist every year as I have liver cirrhosis from hep c and remain at increased risk of liver cancer. But so far so good and I’m still here.

Good luck
Hello Flyinlynn,

Thank you so much for your answers. I am happy that you are doing well despite the long fight with Hepatitis C!!.  

As per your post, I looked up the blood work  (done on 04/29/2022)  for liver and found the following under the "COMPREHENSIVE METABOLIC PANEL":

SGPT (ALT) : 31 (5 - 40 U/L)
SGOT (AST) : 25 (10 - 37 U/L)
Bilirubin Total : 0.5  (0.2 - 1.2 mg/dL)
Alkaline Phosphatase : 98 (25 - 115 U/L)
Albumin :   4.5  (3.5 - 5.0 g/dL)

Some other abnormal results from the recent blood tests:
1)  The LDL was elevated at 117 for the first time. Was always less than 100 before.
2) The Non-HDL cholestrol was elevated at 132 (was 117 during last year's physical in March 2021).
3)  The MCV on the CBC test was elevated at 100 (was 95 or less always in prior tests)
4)  Small amounts of blood was found in the Urine test. Don't think I have ever had that before. Since early last week, I have been doing a daily cardio of body weight squats and push ups for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest for about 8 minutes. I am not sure if thats what triggered the blood in urine as I feel a dull burning sensation in the lower left pelvic region. I have prostatitis and it could also be that.  

Questions:
1) Based on the above information and your extensive experience and knowledge about hep-c, would it be possible to comment on the severity of the hep-c in my case if the RNA test is positive?

2) Looked up Heptalogists in my area (Hampton Roads, VA).  Its mostly Gastroentologists with experience in Hep-c. like the dr's below.  Is that adequate?

https://www.riversideonline.com/find-a-doctor/find-a-doctor-results/michael-ney (paragraph 3 talks about his specialties)

https://www.riversideonline.com/find-a-doctor/find-a-doctor-results/rafayat-hossain


I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to explain and educate me. I am very grateful!!

Regards

If you don't mind, I would like to mention the other abnormal results from my recent blood work:

1) Chloride is low at 96 (98 - 110 mmol/L)
2) BUN is elevated at 23 (6 - 22 mg/dL)
3) Lymphocytes (Auto) 19 % (20 - 45 %

Had been to Urgent care a few weeks ago as I had my fingers sticking together and was feeling a bit out of place: They measured electrolytes and found Sodium was low at 133. Asked me to drink Gatorade during workouts. The sodium in blood test from last week was 135. They also measured HBA1C and found it elevated at 5.7 (4.8-5.6 %)

For the past 4 months, there have been stress at work and when I measure my blood pressure in the evening after coming home, its usually elevated at 125/85 and the pulse rate is in the early 90s and comes down to mid 80s after I measure a few times.  Blood pressure was normal last year and the resting pulse rate was always in the 70s.

Are any or all of the above typical symptoms of  hep-c?   I am asking because If hep-c shows up in the blood tests after 6-11 weeks, the only two places I may have acquired it could be at the dentist in January (routine cleaning and check up) or when I got some blood work for my Endocrinologist in January at a hospiral lab. If I got infected in January, I suppose it makes sense why a test would pick up  hep-c in April.
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