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911Doctor
911Doctor, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 5094
Experience:  Board Certified Emergency Physician
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Hi- I am 7 weeks pregnant and just had prenatal testing done.

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Hi- I am 7 weeks pregnant and just had prenatal testing done. Previous to this I had a primary care doc appt-he did blood work and said everything was normal and at very healthy levels. Yesterday I found out that my prenatal blood work was normal except that hep c antibodies were detected in my blood. I am terrified. I have never done drugs, shared needles, etc. I got a belly button piercing when I was 15-this is the only thing I can think of. I am married and have had boyfriends in the past but never thought I could be at risk for something like this. Is it possible that this could be a false positive result?

911Doctor :

Certainly this is possible, and the first thing your doctor will want to do is repeat the test.

Customer:

okay, it is just a very scary result to have to contend with. From what I read such a small amount of the population has this disease and I am shocked that I could be one of them.

911Doctor :

you are correct that it is a small portion of the population with the disease

911Doctor :

and it is for that reason that it is not a routine test that is ordered because once you start testing people with no risk factors the false positive rate goes up

911Doctor :

so this test should be repeated

911Doctor :

and then followed up with a more specific test if needed

Customer:

do you know why the false positive rate goes up for people with no risk factors?

911Doctor :

the RNA test specific for hep C

911Doctor :

it's a mathematical thing, not a test problem

911Doctor :

I'm not too good with math so let me try to explain

Customer:

okay...

911Doctor :

if you had a blood test that was 90% accurate in predicting whether a person could dunk a basketball on a ten foot goal

911Doctor :

and you administered it to NBA players

911Doctor :

you would get 95% posisitves

911Doctor :

a few false negatives

911Doctor :

but if you tested only people under 5 foot tall you would still get positives

911Doctor :

because the test is highly accurate

911Doctor :

but produces some false positives because it is not 100% accurate

911Doctor :

I don't know if that helps you

Customer:

i do see what you are saying

911Doctor :

in fact, in the short person example you would likely get ten to 15% positives... they would be true negatives, but the test would be wrong for this sample

Customer:

okay, this gives me hope. thank you.

911Doctor :

you are welcome... stand by for one second... I'm trying to find a false positive rate for you...

Customer:

okay thank you

911Doctor :

looks like the number i am seeing is 12-20% false positive in low risk populations

911Doctor :

especially since you have never had signs or symptoms of hepatitis I would think yours would likely turn out to be a false positive

911Doctor :

but certainly worth the definitive RNA testing... I'm sure your doctor can get that done for you.

911Doctor :

standing by

Customer:

i read that often people don't ever have signs or symptoms?

Customer:

until much later at least when liver damage occurs

911Doctor :

this is true

911Doctor :

so I am NOT telling you that you don't have it, but I AM telling you that there is a good chance based on what you have told me that the test may be in error.

Customer:

right, okay, thanks for your help

911Doctor :

you are most welcome

911Doctor :

any final questions for me?

Customer:

if i do have it- do u know what the most up to date treatments are? i was reading a lot of different things, not sure if what i was reading was related to outdated treatments. I am hoping that if i have it there is treatment after pregnancy that can cure it.

911Doctor :

no

911Doctor :

the mayo clinic link above is good for this

911Doctor :

there is no cure

911Doctor :

but interferon is still used and targeted therapies are under development

911Doctor :

there are clinical trials taking place but I have not heard of any breakthrough treatments

911Doctor :

standing by

Customer:

okay. those are all my questions then. thanks.

911Doctor :

you are most welcome

911Doctor :

good luck, and I hope this turns out to be a false positive

911Doctor :

Thank you so much for your question. It was a pleasure talking with you. Should you need my assistance in the future simply start your question with ‘for 911doc only’.


Positive feedback is always appreciated.


Be Well


911Doc

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