HEPATITIS GLOSSARY OF TERMS

 

Acute Hepatitis - Active and symptomatic infection of the liver. The person is contagious.

Chronic Carrier - (Asymptomatic)HBV is present in the liver and blood, although there are usually no obvious physical symptoms. Specific blood tests will reveal the presence of the virus. This person is contagious (via blood, birth,sex, needles)

Chronic Persistent Hepatitis (CPH): This represents a degree of liver damage (resulting from HBV). Physical symptoms are usually present. Histological (detailed liver analysis) will reveal this stage of the disease. Blood tests are also informative. The person is usually contagious.

Chronic Active Hepatitis (CAH): This is a more advanced form of hepatitis where liver damage is more widespread. Distinguishing CPH from CAH is highly technical. Liver function tests and other blood work is done to characterize the disease. The person is usually contagious.

Cirrhosis - Pathological dysfunctional state of the liver (hardening of the liver)extensive scarring in the liver along with irregular nodules of regenerating liver tissue. A result of chronic hepatitis, CPH or CAH.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) - Cancer of liver cells

Liver Function Tests (LFTs) - Tests that measure liver enzymes in the blood. When the liver is diseased or damaged,liver specific enzymes (such as SGOT/SGPT/GGTP or AST/ALT/GGT) spill into the blood. Elevated levels of these enzymes in the blood are asssociated with liver damage.

Alpha Feto Protein (AFP)- A normal protein produced in the developing human embryo. Adults do not contain much AFP in their blood. However, since liver cancer cells often produce AFP, elevated blood levels are associated with the possibility of liver cancer (HCC). However, other conditions may also cause a rise in AFP (such as pregnancy).

Antigen substance that sets off an alarm in your body to protect itself (e.g. hepatitis B virus)

Antibody produced by the body to protect itself from an antigen. Antibodies bind to and often inactivate antigens.

Surface -Antigen Positive - S-antigen is part of the HBV particle. S-antigen positive suggests the person is either an HBV carrier or is experiencing an acute HBV infection

Surface -Antibody Positive (IgG) - The person has previously been infected with HBV and has most likely recovered.

E-Antigen Positive (eAg+) - E-antigen is a viral protein that is secreted by HBV-infected cells. Its presence indicated a high amount of virus in the blood.

E-Antibody Positive (eAb+) - Carriers who stop producing E-antigen sometimes produce E-antibodies. The clinical significance of this is uncertain.

Core Antigen Positive (cAg+) - This test is usually not done. It indicates the virus is present (core is part of the virus).

Core Antibody Positive (cAb+) - Core is part of the HBV particle and usually occurs in people who are chronic carriers. However, if present with the S-antibody, it is associated with recovery.

(The above terms from the Hep B Foundation)

INTERFERON - Drug produced by several companies with brand names: Intron, Roferon, and Infragen for the treatment of hepatitis B and C. Interferons are natural substances produced by the body that help to strengthen the immune system and display anti-viral activity against infections such as hepatitis C.

Other "Liver Function Tests" Bilirubin, Albumin, PTT - these are actually the "true" liver function tests. These will be indicative of how well the liver is actually working.

Albumin- - Main circulating protein in bloodstream synthesized by liver.

Prothrombin Time -laboratory test measuring time required for a blood sample to clot. Reflects overall function of the liver

Bilirubin- - Chemical breakdown product of hemoglobin

Fibrosis - Abnormal formation of fibrous connective tissue in the liver.

Alkaline Phosphatase - Enzyme or protein synthesized by the liver in large amounts when there is obstruction of the bile ducts to the normal flow of bile.

Anti-nuclear Antibody Test(ANA)- - Laboratory test, when positive, suggests the presence of some form of autoimmune illness

Ceruloplasmin- - Serum protein measured by laboratory to help in the diagnosis of Wilson's Disease

Brain Fog/Hepatic Encephalopathy - caused by toxic waste compounds such as ammonia, certain fatty acids or other by-products of protein digestion which are not cleared by the liver from the bloodstream. Can range from very slight (decline in memory or reduced mental abilities and confusion) to moderate (loss of memory, disorientation, change in sleep habits, untidiness, muscle tremors or blackout spells) to severe (leading to a form of chronic dementia or even coma).

Bile Duct- Large tube-like structure that delivers bile from the liver to the intestine to help digest food.

Bile Ductule Microscopic bile duct that collects bile from liver cells and delivers it to the large bile duct outside the liver.

Bile- Fluid produced by liver cells and carried by bile ductules into the bile duct and stored in gall bladder between meals. Contains substances needed to aid in the digestion of food. Provides a method for the body to eliminate toxic substances that are broken down by the liver.

Hepatomegaly - Enlargement of the liver

Splenomegaly - enlargement of the spleen

Portal Hypertension-Increased pressure in the portal venous system. Results from increased portal blood flow or, in most cases, increased resistance to blood flow, usually due to blockage from the liver being diseased

Ascites - Free fluid in the peritoneal cavity(abdomen or "stomach area").Indicates a chronic or subacute disorder and does not occur in acute conditions (eg, uncomplicated viral hepatitis, drug reactions, biliary obstruction). The most common cause is cirrhosis.

Hepatomalacia - Softening of the liver

Hepatonephromegaly - Enlargement of the liver and one or both kidneys

Hepatosplenomegaly - Enlargement of both the liver and spleen

Hepatologist - Specialist in diseases of the liver

EGD - Esophagogastroduodenoscopy- a lighted scope is inserted into the mouth and down through the esophagus (swallowing tube) to view and/or biopsy, the esophagus, stomach, and first portion of the small intestine (duodenum).

Spider Nevi - Branched growth of dilated capillaries on the skin, resembling a spider

Palmar Erythema- Redness of the palms of the hands

Hemochromatosis - A genetic disorder involving increased absorption of iron by the gastrointestinal tract and deposition in the liver resulting ultimately in cirrhosis and liver failure.

Dupuytren's contractures - contracture of the fascia in the palm of the hand, causing the ring and little finger to bend into the palm so that they cannot be extended

Leukopenia - Abnormal decrease of number of White Blood Cells

Thrombocytopenia - abnormal decrease in the number of platelets

Anemia - reduction in number of circulating red blood cells or in hemoglobin, or in the volume of packed red blood cells, or a combination of two or more of the above. It exists when hemoglobin content is less than 13-14 gm for adult males, and 11-12 gm for adult females

Esophageal Varices - Twisted swollen veins of the esophagus (swallowing tube)resulting from portal hypertension. Often results in gastrointestinal bleeding, a life threatening complication

HEPATITIS RESOURCE SITES

(Click above)

HEPATITIS B MAILING LIST - This link will explain the whole mailing list process. Or, you can subscribe by sending a blank email message by clicking hereSIGNON Great global support list for us Hep B folks! Loaded with useful info and compassion.Co-list owners: Steve Bingham, Sheree Martin

For those who want only information posts, and do not have time for the "Support" element of our work on the HB list we now offer another option, which many may prefer, an information only option. This new list, called HBV_Research,is provided as a parallel additional service to the main Hepatitis B Information and Support List. However, only the list moderators may post to the HBV-R list, no discussions take place, and most importantly - all messages are archived on a publicly accessible web site. If you wish to look up archived information posts, please visit: HBV RESEARCH ARCHIVES

A list serve with onelist.com called hbv-adoption for parents of children with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Please help spread the word to parents of HBV-affected children (It's not restricted to adoptive parents only. To subscribe, go to www.onelist.com/subscribe/hbv-adoption . The list is restricted and subscription applicants must be approved by the list master.Please send questions to lori.raff@saic.com


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