This test is used to screen for infection with the Hepatitis B (Hep B) virus. The Surface Antigen test looks for a protein which is present on the surface of the virus. This protein will be present in the blood with an acute or chronic Hep B infection. As the earliest indicator of a Hepatitis B infection, the Surface Antigen Test is often ordered by patients who believe they have had a recent exposure. This test can detect the presence of Hepatitis B in chronic or long-term infections even if the patient has no symptoms.
Hepatitis B is a viral liver infection which is spread through exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids. It is the most common cause of acute viral Hepatitis. Hepatitis B infections often show no symptoms but when symptoms do occur they are often described as flu-like. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, joint pain, fatigue, jaundice, and dark colored urine. Chronic Hep B infections can cause serious health complications like Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer.
The Surface Antigen test is the most commonly ordered screening for Hepatitis B. This test may be ordered because a person believes they are experiencing symptoms, or is simply concerned that they have had a recent or past exposure. In some cases this test is ordered by patients who have had irregular levels from tests such as the ALT or AST.
Turnaround time for the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen test is typically 1 business day.
The incubation period varies but ranges between 3-12 weeks.
This Hepatitis B testing does not have any special requirements.