Hepatitis B Test

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Australian Antigen, Auszyme, HBsAg


Hepatitis B Surface

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The Hepatitis B Test test contains 1 test with 2 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The hepatitis B Surface antigen test is a blood test that checks for hepatitis b antigen in your blood’s serum. If hepatitis B antigen is detected, confirmation testing will be performed.

Also Known As: Hep B Test, HBsAg Test, Hepatitis B Antigen Test, HBV Test, HBV Surface Antigen Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

IMPORTANT: NOTE THIS IS A REFLEX TEST - The price charged for this test is only for the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen. AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE WILL OCCUR FOR THE REFLEX CONFIRMATION if the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen is positive.

When is a Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test ordered?

When someone develops signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis, hepatitis B tests may be conducted to see if they are caused by HBV infection.

When standard test findings such as ALT and/or AST are elevated, hepatitis B testing may be ordered as a follow-up. Acute varieties of hepatitis can sometimes be diagnosed this way since they only generate minor symptoms that are easily confused with the flu. Chronic hepatitis is more typically diagnosed when routine test results are abnormal and has no symptoms.

When someone falls into one of the high risk categories for chronic hepatitis B, a test for hepatitis B surface antigen may be utilized for screening.

Hepatitis B tests may be repeated on a regular basis to monitor persons who have chronic hepatitis B infections. Hepatitis B surface antigen and hepatitis Be antigen are normally evaluated every 6 months to a year since HBeAg can disappear on its own in certain persons. HBeAg and HBV DNA testing can be used to detect whether or not a patient is receiving effective treatment for chronic HBV.

What does a Hepatitis B Surface Antigen blood test check for?

Hepatitis B tests look for chemicals that indicate a present or former hepatitis B infection. Some tests look for viral antigen or antibodies produced in response to an infection, while others look for or analyse the virus's genetic material. A person with a current active infection or immunity as a result of earlier exposure can be identified by the pattern of test findings.

Hepatitis is a liver infection that causes inflammation and enlargement. It can be caused by a number of factors, one of which is virus infection. HBV is one of five "hepatitis viruses" known to primarily infect the liver that have been found thus far. Hepatitis A, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E are the other four.

HBV is transmitted through contact with an infected person's blood or other bodily fluids. For example, exposure can occur through the sharing of IV drug needles or through unprotected intercourse. People who live in or go to locations where hepatitis B is widespread are more vulnerable. Mothers can spread the virus to their newborns on a rare occasion, usually during or after delivery. The virus is not spread through simple hand-to-hand contact, coughing, or sneezing. The virus, however, can survive for up to seven days outside the body, including in dried blood, and can be spread by exchanging razors or toothbrushes with an infected individual.

Efficient hepatitis B vaccines have already been available in the United States since 1981, and health care providers began immunizing newborns at birth in 1991. Despite this, the CDC believes that between 804,000 and 1.4 million persons in the United States are infected with the virus, the majority of whom are unaware of their infection.

HBV infections can range in severity from a mild infection that lasts a few weeks to a more dangerous chronic infection that lasts years. Chronic HBV can sometimes lead to significant problems including cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Acute HBV infection, albeit potentially dangerous, normally goes away on its own in most adults. Infants and children are more likely than adults to get a persistent infection. Ninety percent of newborns affected with HBV will develop a chronic illness. Between the ages of one and five, the risk of having chronic hepatitis lowers to 25% to 50%. Only 6% to 10% of HBV illnesses become chronic in children over the age of five.

The great majority of people who have chronic infections don't show any signs or symptoms. The symptoms of acute infections are remarkably similar to other types of acute hepatitis. Fever, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice are some of the symptoms. The liver is damaged and unable to function normally in acute hepatitis. It may not be able to remove toxins or waste products like bilirubin from the body. Bilirubin and hepatic enzyme levels in the blood may rise as the disease progresses. While tests like bilirubin and a liver panel can tell a doctor if someone has hepatitis, they can't tell them what's causing it. Tests for hepatitis virus infection may aid in determining the cause.

Hepatitis B testing can be used to detect infection in the absence of symptoms, to establish whether an infection is acute or chronic, and to track the progress of a chronic infection and its treatment.

Lab tests often ordered with a a Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test:

When an HBsAg test is ordered, it's typically part of a broader evaluation for hepatitis B infection and liver health. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Hepatitis B Core Antibody (Anti-HBc):

    • Purpose: To detect antibodies produced in response to a component of the HBV core.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Anti-HBc helps distinguish between acute and chronic HBV infection and can indicate previous exposure to the virus.
  2. Hepatitis B Surface Antibody (Anti-HBs):

    • Purpose: To check for immunity to HBV, either from vaccination or past infection.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To determine if an individual is immune to HBV, either through recovery from past infection or successful vaccination.
  3. Hepatitis Be Antigen (HBeAg) and Hepatitis Be Antibody (Anti-HBe):

    • Purpose: To assess the infectivity and stage of HBV infection.
    • Why Is It Ordered: HBeAg generally indicates high levels of viral replication and infectivity, while Anti-HBe can indicate lower levels of virus and reduced infectivity.
  4. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health and function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: HBV can cause liver inflammation and damage. These tests help evaluate the extent of liver damage.
  5. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: Provides a broad picture of overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To detect signs of anemia, infection, or other blood cell abnormalities, which can occur in chronic liver disease.
  6. Prothrombin Time (PT/INR):

    • Purpose: To assess blood clotting function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Liver damage can affect the production of clotting factors, making this test important for evaluating liver function.
  7. Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP):

    • Purpose: To screen for liver cancer.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Chronic HBV infection increases the risk of developing liver cancer, and AFP is a tumor marker used in screening.

These tests, when ordered alongside a Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Reflex Confirmation test, provide a comprehensive view of hepatitis B infection status and liver health. They are crucial for confirming the diagnosis, assessing the severity of liver disease, evaluating the risk of transmission, and planning appropriate treatment. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s risk factors, symptoms, and the results of initial screenings.

Conditions where a Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test is recommended:

A Hepatitis B Surface Antigen with Reflex Confirmation test is required in the following situations:

  1. Screening for Hepatitis B: As part of routine screening or for high-risk individuals, this test is used to detect early or asymptomatic hepatitis B infections.

  2. Diagnosing Hepatitis B: When a patient presents with symptoms of acute hepatitis or has risk factors for hepatitis B, this test is used to confirm the diagnosis.

  3. Monitoring Chronic Hepatitis B: For individuals with chronic hepatitis B, the test is used to assess the viral load and response to antiviral treatment.

How does my health care provider use a Hepatitis B Antigen test?

Hepatitis B viral tests can be used for a number of different reasons. Some tests look for antibodies produced in response to HBV infection, while others look for antigens produced by the virus and yet others look for viral DNA.

In most cases, one set of tests is used as an initial panel of tests to diagnose HBV infection or determine the reason of acute symptoms, while another set of tests may be performed after a diagnosis to track disease progression, detect chronic infection, and/or determine carrier status.

What do my Hepatitis B Surface antigen test results mean?

Hepatitis B tests can be requested alone, although they are frequently ordered in combination, depending on the purpose for testing. The results of the tests are usually compared. The significance of one test result may be influenced by the outcome of another. However, not everyone is subjected to all tests.

If the findings of initial and follow-up testing suggest that a person has chronic hepatitis B, the individual may be treated with medication, and the effectiveness of that therapy can be tracked using HBe antigen and antibody tests, as well as HBV DNA tests.

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

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