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Viral Hepatitis (cont.)

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What is acute fulminant hepatitis?

Rarely, individuals with acute infections with HAV and HBV develop severe inflammation, and the liver fails (acute fulminant hepatitis). These patients are extremely ill with the symptoms of acute hepatitis already described and the additional problems of confusion or coma (due to the liver's failure to detoxify chemicals) and bruising or bleeding (due to a lack of blood clotting factors). In fact, up to 80% of people with acute fulminant hepatitis can die within days to weeks; therefore, it is fortunate that acute fulminant hepatitis is rare. For example, less than 0.5% of adults with acute infection with HBV will develop acute fulminant hepatitis, but the rate may be slightly higher in HCV.

What is chronic viral hepatitis?

Patients infected with HBV and HCV can develop chronic hepatitis. Doctors define chronic hepatitis as hepatitis that lasts longer than 6 months. In chronic hepatitis, the viruses live and multiply in the liver for years or decades. For unknown reasons, these patients' immune systems are unable to eradicate the viruses, and the viruses cause chronic inflammation of the liver. Chronic hepatitis can lead to the development over time of extensive liver scarring (cirrhosis), liver failure, and liver cancer. Liver failure from chronic hepatitis C infection is the most common reason for liver transplantation in the U.S. Patients with chronic viral hepatitis can transmit the infection to others with blood or body fluids (for example, sharing needles, sexually, and infrequently by organ donation) as well as infrequently by transmission from mother to newborn.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/1/2014

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Viral Hepatitis - Treatment Question: What types of treatment, including medication, have you received for your viral hepatitis?
Viral Hepatitis - Signs and Symptoms Question: What were your signs and symptoms associated with viral hepatitis?
Viral Hepatitis - How You Got it Question: If known, how did you contract viral hepatitis? Please share your story.
Viral Hepatitis - Vaccinations Question: Have you received hepatitis vaccinations? If so, were they effective in preventing hepatitis?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/viral_hepatitis/article.htm

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