Hepatitis C

We have one of the most innovative programs in the Midwest to diagnose and treat this disease as early as possible

Hepatitis C is a virus that infects your liver. At IU Health, experts use the latest techniques and therapies to diagnose and treat hepatitis C as early as possible.

Cause

Hepatitis C is contagious. It is spread through contact with infected blood.

Symptoms

You may carry hepatitis C and not show any symptoms for 20 to 30 years. Some people experience flu-like symptoms a few weeks after their initial infection. Most do not show symptoms. In fact, you may feel fine until liver problems develop. When they do, your symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice from liver failure
  • Muscle and joint pain

Diagnosis

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that all Baby Boomers get screened for hepatitis C. Two-thirds of people who have the disease do not know it. Waiting until symptoms appear can result in serious damage to your liver. These damages can include cirrhosis and the need for a liver transplant.

Your physician may recommend blood tests to detect hepatitis C antibodies and check your liver function for a couple reasons. Those include:

  • If you consider yourself a Baby Boomer
  • If you received a blood transfusion or blood products prior to 1992

Understanding Hepatitis C

Cause

Hepatitis C is contagious. It is spread through contact with infected blood.

Symptoms

You may carry hepatitis C and not show any symptoms for 20 to 30 years. Some people experience flu-like symptoms a few weeks after their initial infection. Most do not show symptoms. In fact, you may feel fine until liver problems develop. When they do, your symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice from liver failure
  • Muscle and joint pain

Diagnosis

Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that all Baby Boomers get screened for hepatitis C. Two-thirds of people who have the disease do not know it. Waiting until symptoms appear can result in serious damage to your liver. These damages can include cirrhosis and the need for a liver transplant.

Your physician may recommend blood tests to detect hepatitis C antibodies and check your liver function for a couple reasons. Those include:

  • If you consider yourself a Baby Boomer
  • If you received a blood transfusion or blood products prior to 1992

You will receive treatment from one of the most innovative hepatitis C programs in the Midwest. Our partnership with IU with the IU School of Medicine and the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology gives you access to the latest research.

In many cases, new liver scanning techniques and medicines will offer high cure rates. These also offer a significantly shorter period of time and remove the need for a liver biopsy.

We use less invasive procedures and medicines that can cure the disease and preserve your liver function. This can include:

Medicines

New medicines with cure rates of 95 percent can treat hepatitis C and other liver conditions within two to three months. Many of them went through clinical trials at IU Health.

While expensive, we receive foundation grants and access specialty pharmacies to keep your costs between $50 and $70 a month. Soon you will have access to several additional hepatitis C agents with cure rates between 99 and 100 percent after 12 weeks of treatment. Some offer a single daily pill with cure rates of 95 percent after two months.

FibroScan

This new technology lets your doctor scan your liver without the need for a biopsy. The scan will check for stiffness, scarring and fatty deposits. The scan provides information your physician can use to create a treatment plan. The plan's goal will be to reduce and stop your body’s reaction to the hepatitis C virus.

Liver Biopsy

In some cases, your physician may need a closer look at your liver cells to find out the extent of the damage. A biopsy or tissue sample allows for a more intense study of your liver cells.

Liver Scan

A radiologic image of your liver can provide more details. Those details will show more about liver function, damage to the organ or how it responds to treatments.

Transplant

Hepatitis C commonly requires liver transplant. IU Health provides liver transplants and has one of the busiest transplant centers in the U.S. with among the shortest wait times.

Clinical Trials

Many tests for new or alternative therapies and medicines to treat hepatitis C and related liver diseases are in progress at IU Health. Learn more about clinical trials.

Research

We conduct ongoing genetic and environmental research into autoimmune liver disease. We do this through our affiliation with the Autoimmune Hepatitis Research Network.

    Treatment

    You will receive treatment from one of the most innovative hepatitis C programs in the Midwest. Our partnership with IU with the IU School of Medicine and the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology gives you access to the latest research.

    In many cases, new liver scanning techniques and medicines will offer high cure rates. These also offer a significantly shorter period of time and remove the need for a liver biopsy.

    We use less invasive procedures and medicines that can cure the disease and preserve your liver function. This can include:

    Medicines

    New medicines with cure rates of 95 percent can treat hepatitis C and other liver conditions within two to three months. Many of them went through clinical trials at IU Health.

    While expensive, we receive foundation grants and access specialty pharmacies to keep your costs between $50 and $70 a month. Soon you will have access to several additional hepatitis C agents with cure rates between 99 and 100 percent after 12 weeks of treatment. Some offer a single daily pill with cure rates of 95 percent after two months.

    FibroScan

    This new technology lets your doctor scan your liver without the need for a biopsy. The scan will check for stiffness, scarring and fatty deposits. The scan provides information your physician can use to create a treatment plan. The plan's goal will be to reduce and stop your body’s reaction to the hepatitis C virus.

    Liver Biopsy

    In some cases, your physician may need a closer look at your liver cells to find out the extent of the damage. A biopsy or tissue sample allows for a more intense study of your liver cells.

    Liver Scan

    A radiologic image of your liver can provide more details. Those details will show more about liver function, damage to the organ or how it responds to treatments.

    Transplant

    Hepatitis C commonly requires liver transplant. IU Health provides liver transplants and has one of the busiest transplant centers in the U.S. with among the shortest wait times.

    Clinical Trials

    Many tests for new or alternative therapies and medicines to treat hepatitis C and related liver diseases are in progress at IU Health. Learn more about clinical trials.

    Research

    We conduct ongoing genetic and environmental research into autoimmune liver disease. We do this through our affiliation with the Autoimmune Hepatitis Research Network.

      Patient Stories for Hepatitis C

      American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

      This nonprofit organization of scientists and healthcare professionals is committed to preventing and curing liver disease. The patient section of its website includes information and resources, especially about hepatitis C and transplants.

      Resources

      American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

      This nonprofit organization of scientists and healthcare professionals is committed to preventing and curing liver disease. The patient section of its website includes information and resources, especially about hepatitis C and transplants.