Hepatitis A IgM Antibody

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Hepatitis A IgM

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The Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test is a vital diagnostic tool used to detect the presence of IgM antibodies against the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) in a person's blood. This test helps healthcare professionals identify acute Hepatitis A infections and distinguish them from previous exposures or vaccinations.

Also Known As: HAV AB Test, Hepatitis A Virus Antibody Test, Anti HAV Test, Anti Hepatitis A Virus Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test ordered?

When someone shows evidence of an acute infection, testing for hepatitis A antibodies is recommended.

When a person is suspected to have been exposed to the virus, regardless of whether or not symptoms are present, a HAV test may be conducted.

Testing is also often ordered to show proof of immunization.

What does a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody blood test check for?

Hepatitis A is a highly infectious liver infection caused by hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis is a condition marked by inflammation and enlargement of the liver, and it can be caused by a variety of things. This test looks for antibodies produced by the immune system in response to a hepatitis A infection in the blood.

Hepatitis A is one of five hepatitis viruses known to cause the disease, with the others being B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A can cause a severe, acute illness that lasts 1 to 2 months, but unlike the other hepatitis viruses, it does not create a persistent infection.

Hepatitis A is transmitted from person to person most usually by stool contamination or by swallowing food or water contaminated by an infected person's stool. Direct contact with an infected person, international travel, direct contact with a newly arrived international adoptee, a recognized foodborne outbreak, men having sex with men, and use of illegal drugs are all recognized risk factors for hepatitis A.

Hepatitis can be caused by a variety of things, but the symptoms are all the same. The liver is damaged and unable to function normally in hepatitis. It can't remove toxins or waste products like bilirubin from the body since it can't digest them. Bilirubin and liver enzyme levels in the blood can rise as the disease progresses. While tests like bilirubin or a liver panel can inform a doctor if someone has hepatitis, they don't tell them what's causing it. Hepatitis viral antibody testing may aid in determining the etiology.

Lab tests often ordered with a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test:

When a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of liver health and infectious disease status. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health by measuring enzymes, proteins, and substances produced or processed by the liver, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin, and albumin.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate the extent of liver damage or inflammation, which can occur with Hepatitis A infection.
  2. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To check for signs of infection or anemia, which can accompany liver diseases and infections.
  3. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Tests:

    • Purpose: To screen for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To rule out other forms of viral hepatitis, as symptoms can be similar across different types of hepatitis.
  4. Prothrombin Time (PT) and International Normalized Ratio (INR):

    • Purpose: To measure how long it takes blood to clot.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess liver function, as the liver produces clotting factors, and prolonged clotting time can indicate liver dysfunction.
  5. Electrolyte Panel:

    • Purpose: To measure key electrolytes in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate for electrolyte imbalances, which can occur with liver disease and gastrointestinal symptoms.
  6. Bilirubin (Total and Direct):

    • Purpose: To measure bilirubin levels.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess for jaundice and bile duct function, which can be affected in hepatitis.
  7. Albumin:

    • Purpose: To measure the level of albumin in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess liver function and nutritional status, as albumin is produced by the liver.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test, provide a comprehensive view of liver health and help in diagnosing and managing Hepatitis A infection. They are crucial for assessing liver function, differentiating between various types of hepatitis, and monitoring the recovery and health of the liver. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s symptoms, clinical presentation, and medical history.

Conditions where a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test is recommended:

A Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test is necessary for:

  • Diagnosing Acute Hepatitis A: The test confirms whether a person has an ongoing Hepatitis A infection.

  • Monitoring Outbreaks: During outbreaks, the test helps identify infected individuals quickly, aiding in containment efforts.

How does my health care provider use a Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test?

This test is used to diagnose a hepatitis A virus caused liver infection. Hepatitis and its symptoms can be caused by a variety of things, therefore this test can help you figure out if your symptoms are caused by hepatitis A.

This test will also come back positive after a person has received the Hepatitis A vaccine, therefore it can be used to see if they have developed immunity following immunization.

Other tests, such as bilirubin, hepatic function panel, ALT, and AST, may be used in conjunction with viral hepatitis testing to assist diagnose the condition in acute hepatitis.

What do my Hepatitis A Antibody test results mean?

A total antibody test identifies both IgM and IgG antibodies without distinguishing between the two.

If the test is positive and the person has never been vaccinated against HAV, then person has been exposed to the virus. Hepatitis A antibodies are found in about 30% of persons over the age of 40.

If the test is negative, then the person has neither been exposed or vaccinated against the Hepatitis A Virus.

Results of this hepatitis testing may indicate the following:

  • If Hepatitis A IgM Antibody is positive the results indicate Acute or recent Hepatitis A virus infection.
  • If Hepatitis A IgM Antibody is negative and the Hepatitis A Antibody, Total is positive then the results indicate no active infection but previous Hepatitis A virus exposure; has developed immunity to Hepatitis A virus or recently vaccinated for Hepatitis A virus.
  • Dietary supplements containing biotin may interfere in assays and may skew analyte results to be either falsely high or falsely low. For patients receiving the recommended daily doses of biotin, draw samples at least 8 hours following the last biotin supplementation. For patients on mega-doses of biotin supplements, draw samples at least 72 hours following the last biotin supplementation.

Most Common Questions About the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test:

Purpose and Applications

What is the primary objective of the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test?

The Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test is specifically designed to detect the presence of IgM antibodies against the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) in the blood. A positive result typically indicates a recent or acute infection with HAV.

When is the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test typically ordered?

This test is often ordered when an individual presents symptoms consistent with Hepatitis A, such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and fever. Additionally, it might be requested for individuals who have potentially been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus, such as through contaminated food or water or close contact with an infected individual.

Clinical Significance

What does a positive result in the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test indicate?

A positive result for the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test suggests that the individual has an active or recent infection with Hepatitis A. The presence of IgM antibodies typically indicates an immune response to an acute infection rather than a past or chronic infection.

If the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test is negative, can it be concluded that the person has never been exposed to the virus?

Not necessarily. A negative IgM test indicates that there is no current or recent infection. To determine past exposure or immunity to Hepatitis A, a different antibody test, Hepatitis A IgG, would be needed. If positive, this would suggest past exposure and immunity, either from previous infection or vaccination.


How soon after exposure can the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test detect an infection?

The Hepatitis A IgM antibodies generally become detectable in the blood about 2-3 weeks after initial exposure to the virus and can persist for up to 3-6 months or longer.

How long after recovery from Hepatitis A might the IgM antibodies remain detectable?

IgM antibodies, indicative of a recent or acute Hepatitis A infection, might remain in the blood for several months after the infection has resolved. In some cases, they can persist for up to 6 months or longer.

Clinical Limitations

How does the Hepatitis A IgM Antibody test differentiate between an acute infection and vaccination?

The test detects the body's immune response to the natural infection, not to the vaccine. If someone has been vaccinated for Hepatitis A, they will develop Hepatitis A IgG antibodies (indicating long-term immunity) but not the IgM antibodies associated with an acute infection.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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