Which viral serologies are performed in the evaluation of acute liver failure (ALF)?

Updated: Jun 13, 2019
  • Author: Gagan K Sood, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) immunoglobulin M (IgM), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and hepatitis B virus (HBV) anticore IgM serologies help identify acute infection with HAV or HBV.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody test results may remain negative for several weeks or months. Repeat testing may be necessary, but acute HCV infection as a cause of fulminant hepatic failure appears to be exceedingly uncommon. If a strong clinical suspicion exists, obtain hepatitis C viral load testing.

If the HBsAg assay is positive, consider testing for hepatitis D virus (HDV) IgM. This test is particularly advisable if the patient is a known intravenous (IV) drug abuser.

Other viral studies may be helpful in the posttransplantation setting or when patients are otherwise heavily immunosuppressed. Such studies include cytomegalovirus viremia and cytomegalovirus antigenemia. Also consider herpes simplex virus (HSV).


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