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911Doctor
911Doctor, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 5084
Experience:  Board Certified Emergency Physician
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Hi- I am 7 weeks pregnant and just had prenatal testing done.

Resolved Question:

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?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  911Doctor replied 9 months ago.

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

911Doctor, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 5084
Experience: Board Certified Emergency Physician
911Doctor and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you

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