Hepatitis C Antibody, HCV RNA & Liver Panel
- Hepatitis C Antibody
- Hepatitis C Virus RNA, Quantitative, Real-Time PCR
- Hepatic Function Panel
Hepatitis C antibody tests are used to screen individuals for the infection, including, people with no signs or symptoms but with risk factors, people who have symptoms associated with hepatitis or liver disease, or those who have been exposed to the virus.
Since the antibody test can remain positive for most people even if they have cleared the infection, this panel includes a hepatitis C RNA test, which detects the genetic material of the virus. A positive result on the RNA test means the virus is present, the infection has not resolved, and the person may require treatment. The liver panel is included to assess the health of the liver.
An HCV antibody test is typically reported as "positive" or "negative."
Results of Hepatitis C Virus RNA testing are reported as a number if virus is present. If no virus is present or if the amount of virus is too low to detect, the result is often reported as "negative" or "not detected."
Interpretation of the HCV screening and follow-up tests is shown below. In general, if the HCV antibody test is positive, then the individual tested is infected or has likely been infected at some time with hepatitis C. If the Hepatitis C Virus RNA test is positive, then the person has a current infection. If no Hepatitis C Virus RNA is detected, then the person either does not have an active infection or the virus is present in very low numbers.
HCV Antibody = Negative
No infection or too early after exposure for the test to be accurate; if suspicion remains high, retesting at a later time may be required.
HCV Antibody = Positive or Indeterminate
HCV RNA = Negative
Past infection or no infection (false-positive screen); additional testing if indicated
HCV Antibody = Positive or Weak or Indeterminate
HCV RNA = Positive