How Long Does it Take to Get Hepatitis Blood Test Results Back?


Medical Definition

  • Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver due to a viral infection and it is classified as one of five main types: A, B, C, D and E. The disease causes jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark discoloration of the urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain as well as scarring or cirrhosis of the liver. It may resolve itself through the body either quickly (acute) or in the long-term (chronic), but if the infection is progressive enough it can cause liver damage. The severity also depends on other factors such as other illnesses present in the patient's body at the time of the infection. Medications is prescribed to treat the condition brought on by Hepatitis of the liver.

Test Procedure and Results

  • Hepatitis is tested through the blood drawn either from the inside of the elbow or the outside of the patient's hand once the the site has been cleaned with antiseptic. A medical professional or phlebotomist inserts the needle into the vein and drawn blood collects inside an airtight tube. After the procedure, the elastic band tied to the arm is removed then the needle is removed, quickly followed by a bandage placed on the site to stop the bleeding. The vial ships to the laboratory where they use both the antigen and antibody tests to determine if any of the different Hepatitis viruses are present. Results may be returned as early as the same day if done in-house or take as long as 10 days if sent out, depending on which, if any, of the strains they discover, and how many tests they conduct on the blood. The long wait is due to the numerous other procedures such as HCV RIBA to make sure the results are not a false-positive. The blood tests cannot, however, determine whether the disease is an acute or chronic condition, but it is important to identify which type of Hepatitis the patient has in order to prevent the spread and start proper treatment. Another factor: Tests for Hepatitis C antibodies may not show in the blood until four to 10 weeks after infection.


  • People normally contract Hepatitis from the ingestion of contaminated food or water, but you can also be infected with one of the varieties through sexual contact or the sharing of bodily fluids like blood or urine. Needle sharing with an infected person spreads the disease as well. In extreme cases, people have been contaminated by receiving a blood transfusion using tainted medical equipment. Consult your doctor if you have reason to suspect you've been exposed to any Hepatitis infection.


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