Hepatitis Care: Advanced Treatment for Liver Inflammation

At University Hospitals, our digestive health specialists use state-of-the-art research and advanced treatments for hepatitis. An inflammation of the liver, hepatitis can result in liver cell damage and eventual liver failure. There are different types of hepatitis, but the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, B and C.

Twenty years ago, there was not much doctors could do for a patient with hepatitis C, the most widely seen form of hepatitis. Today, with the leading-edge hepatitis C diagnostics and treatments, we can cure almost everyone - with no injections using a short course of 8 to 12 weeks on oral medications.

Hepatitis C Screening Test Guidelines for Baby Boomers

If you were born between 1945 to 1965, it is important to talk to your primary care physician about screening for hepatitis C. Many baby boomers have hepatitis C and do not know it. Yet hepatitis C symptoms can include chronic scarring, cirrhosis, liver cancer or even death, if left untreated. That’s why it is critical to ask about your hepatitis screening. Without expert diagnosis and hepatitis treatment, the disease can lead to end-stage liver disease, when treatment is not as effective.

The sooner your doctor identifies a hepatitis C diagnosis and you start the new oral medications, the more likely you are to see a cure. While your primary care physician can screen for hepatitis C, only a hepatitis specialist can administer the new medication for hepatitis C to cure this disease. Our team of digestive health specialists at University Hospitals have the experience and expertise to care for any type and stage of hepatitis.

2-Minute Fibroscan® Eliminates Liver Biopsy

Our team utilizes the most advanced clinical screenings to diagnose and treat hepatitis. Previous diagnostic procedures required a liver biopsy, which put patients at greater risk. At University Hospitals, our specialists now offer a 2-minute Fibroscan®, a noninvasive, painless alternative to liver biopsy. This leading-edge technology uses ultrasound to assess the stiffness of the liver, then grades and stages any form of liver disease. The Fibroscan® is quick, safe and easy to use. In addition, the Fibroscan® can be used to check for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and other liver diseases.

Understanding Common Types of Hepatitis

The three main types of hepatitis we see in today’s population include:

Hepatitis A: An inflammation of the liver caused by a virus, this form of hepatitis is spread through food, water and feces, especially in highly unsanitary conditions. It can also be spread through poor hygiene. A vaccine, hepatitis A immunization, is available, but 99 percent of people with a hepatitis A diagnosis recover without treatment.

Hepatitis B: A serious viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver than can lead to scarring of the liver, called fibrosis, or more advanced scarring, called cirrhosis. Hepatitis B transmission occurs when it is spread or acquired through exposure to infected blood or body fluids through sex, childbirth and needle sharing. A vaccine is available for hepatitis B prevention. This has become a standard vaccine for all children and young adults as well as certain high-risk older adult populations. Hepatitis B is usually seen in people from Africa, Asia and some of the central and eastern European countries. The risk of transmitting hepatitis B from mother to child is 90 percent. In addition, this disease can be easily spread sexually. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted through illicit IV drug use.

Hepatitis C: A serious viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver that can lead to scarring of the liver, called fibrosis, or more advanced scarring, called cirrhosis. Unrelated to the other hepatitis types, hepatitis C is transmitted by intravenous drug use, infected blood products, infected organ transplant (prior to 1991), needle stick injuries, piercings, tattoos and nasal cocaine use. Less than 5 percent of hepatitis C cases are transmitted sexually or from mother to child.

Specialized Care for Advanced Liver Disease

For those patients with more advanced liver disease, including those that may need a liver transplant, digestive health specialists at University Hospitals determine the optimal treatment for long term success. We work with our colleagues across the UH system on the best ways to approach your specific condition, leveraging innovative treatments through research and clinical trials.

Treatment Resources in Convenient Community Settings

We make sure your treatment for hepatitis is convenient and accessible at UH locations across the region. All diagnostic and initial treatment for hepatitis is available at our regional clinics. You can receive medications, have tests completed and go to follow-up appointments – all close to home.

Our digestive health team works closely with your primary care physician to communicate about your hepatitis treatment and next steps. Our goal is to deliver a seamless experience that addresses both your physical needs and questions.

National Leaders in Liver Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

Our digestive health specialists at University Hospitals are national leaders in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of digestive and liver diseases, including hepatitis treatment. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks our program as one of the best in the country for digestive care. Our team provides the high-quality clinical treatment you deserve with a focus on patient-centered care for improved digestive health.

If you have questions about your risk of hepatitis or any other areas of your digestive health, contact one of our team members today at any of our convenient locations.