HEPATITIS C

Mr. and Mrs. Bocc were in the room for a follow-up consultation; on Mr. Bocc’s lab tests, which had shown elevated liver enzymes and a positive Hepatitis C antibody. Both were nervous. Except for being a heavy beer drinker, Mr. Bocc thought he was a fairly healthy 41-year-old when he came in for a routine physical 2 months ago at the urging of his wife.

At that first visit, I had discovered hypertension (high blood pressure). Because of the hypertension, I ordered lab work, which showed elevated liver enzymes. I was able to persuade him to stop his beer drinking so that we could see if the liver abnormalities would improve. When the liver tests remained abnormal, I ordered a hepatitis panel. Even though Mr. Bocc was not at high risk for hepatitis, the results showed a positive Hepatitis C antibody. Today, I discussed information about Hepatitis C and possible treatments. There were many intelligent questions from Mr. and Mrs. Bocc.

You see, knowledge and treatment of Hepatitis C are only 10 years old, and the treatment options are only now starting to improve. One interesting discovery that we made today was that Mr. Bocc’s mother had died at the young age of 46 of what the family thought was ovarian cancer. (But there was no autopsy done.) I’ll bet you $100 his mother actually died of liver failure secondary to Hepatitis C.

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