​Hepatitis B


Hepatitis B (HBV) causes a serious infection of the liver and other health complications. HBV is contracted through exposure to contaminated blood, semen, and other bodily fluids. It can be passed through the transfusion of infected blood or blood products, or by contaminated injections or needles used during a medical procedure. Children and infants are more likely to be infected by HBV than as compared to adults, and the virus may be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby during birth or from someone close to an infant during early childhood.

Usually, most people who suffer from HBV fully recover without any extensive damage or long term effects, even if the symptoms of the disease seem severe (acute HBV). However, for some infected individuals the disease may become chronic, which means that it lasts longer than six months. Chronic Hepatitis B sufferers are at greater risk of developing liver failure, cancer or cirrhosis.

Hepatitis B can be considered dangerous because it is a relatively “silent infection”. This means that many people who are infected with the HBV virus are unaware that they have contracted it, and can unknowingly pass in on to others. Thus there is a risk for those who get infected to develop chronic HBV, which can attack your liver for many years without being detected, threatening serious liver disease and damage in later years.
Some people may notice acute symptoms of the disease, which can include:

  • Jaundice: symptoms of which include yellow eyes and skin, and darker urine

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Pain in your abdomen

  • Fever

  • Muscle or joint pain

You should visit your doctor working with the Internal Medicine Service Line or get your child medically examined at the Children's Hospital at the Aga Khan University Hospital if you notice any of the symptoms associated to hepatitis B. If you think you may be at risk at contracting HBV or you have spent time with an infected individual, you should seek preventive treatment at the Family Health Services within 12 of exposure as this can reduce the risk of infection.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

To test for HBV, your doctor will ask about your medical history, take a blood sample for testing and conduct a physical examination. This can help them to diagnose whether you may have HBV, and whether it is acute or chronic. They may conduct further tests, such as a liver biopsy (removing a small sample of liver tissue), liver function tests and an ultrasound in order to determine the severity of the disease.

There is no specific treatment for HBV, however if the disease is acute it is usually recoverable on its own. There are some coping techniques available that target the symptoms of the disease, aiming at maintaining comfort as well as an adequate nutritional balance.

If the disease progresses drastically and causes severe damage to your liver, you may become a candidate for a liver transplant.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.



The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.