Hepatitis C Viral Load RT-PCR Blood Test measures the amount of Hepatitis C viral load or the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) levels in the blood of chronically infected patients. This test helps to distinguish active from an inactive infection in Hepatitis C chronic infected individuals. It also helps to monitor and evaluate the treatment response in individuals receiving anti-viral treatment. The PCR technique is highly accurate as compared to other tests.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and can lead to scarring, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis can be caused due to auto-immune diseases, alcohol or toxic substances. Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood to blood contact with someone infected with HCV. Usually, acute HCV infection is asymptomatic (does not show any symptoms). In individuals with chronic infection symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, dark urine, decreased appetite, joint pain etc are seen.
Hepatitis C Virus HCV causes both acute and chronic infection. It is transmitted through the reuse of medical equipment, mainly syringes, needles and by transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. It can also be transmitted sexually and can pass from an infected mother to baby. It can not be spread through breast milk, water, food or by casual contact like hugging, sharing food or drinks and kissing with an infected person.
This test is performed to check the presence of Hepatitis C Viral load in the blood. The doctor may ask you to undergo this test if you are suffering from symptoms and conditions such as liver cancer, cirrhosis, jaundice, fever, dark urine, abdominal pain, joint pain etc. If an individual is on the treatment for Hepatitis C virus HCV then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment. Mostly, this test is done along with other hepatitis tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Contaminated blood samples may give false positive results. In such cases, it is recommended to do a new sample collection and repeat the test.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your HCV Viral Load. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for HCV Viral Load.
No specific preparation is required for this test.
The test results may be vary depending on gender, age, health conditions, and stage of infection.
If the test results show high Hepatitis C viral load levels than normal range and signs of liver damage it may indicate that you are at an active stage of Hepatitis C infection (replicative) and need treatment.
If undetectable or low viral loads and no signs of liver damage, it may indicate that you are at an inactive stage of Hepatitis C infection (nonreplicative).
In individuals receiving treatment for hepatitis infection, the presence of high viral loads indicates a poor response to treatment.
In pregnant women with high viral loads may indicate a need for treatment during their third trimester of pregnancy to reduce the risk of infection in newborns.
In individuals receiving treatment for hepatitis infection, if the blood sample does not contain Hepatitis C viral load or significant low levels it may indicate a more likely or likely response to treatment.
|UNISEX||All age groups||>8log IU/ml indicate active infection|