Molecular testing for hepatitis C virus is used to detect infection by the virus before the appearance of specific anti-HCV antibodies in the serum (ie less than 2 months after exposure), to detect and confirm chronic infection by hepatitis C virus, to quantify virus RNA in patients with chronic HCV infection as well as to monitor the progression of the disease in chronic infections and also monitor the response to antiviral therapy.
Of all patients infected with hepatitis C virus, about 75% will develop chronic hepatitis C with continued proliferation of viruses in the liver and detectable HCV RNA in the serum and eventually cause cirrhosis of the liver. The remaining 25% of patients recover from infection without evidence of viral replication or the presence of detectable RNA in the serum.
In patients with chronic HCV infection, response to treatment is correlated with serum viral RNA levels (viral load) and virus genotype. The optimal duration of treatment can be determined by the viral load and by the genotype of the virus.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.