• If you have hepatitis B, you should get a liver check-up every 6 months.
  • Liver check-ups are the only way to know if there is damage to your liver.
  • Regular check-ups mean you can start treatment when you need it.

If you have hepatitis B, it is important to visit your doctor regularly for liver check-ups. This is called monitoring and it is important because hepatitis B can damage your liver without you knowing.

When you go to your doctor for a liver check‑up they will do some tests to see if there is any liver damage and work out if you need to start or change treatment.

It is best to get a liver check-up done every six months.1

Tests used to monitor the effects of hepatitis B 

Viral load test (HBV DNA)

Hepatitis B viral load tests measure how much of the virus is in your blood. This is important because a high viral load means you are more infectious and it is more likely to cause damage to your liver.2

Viral load tests are used to help work out if you need to start or change treatment.

Liver Function Tests 

Liver function tests are blood tests that measure the amount of certain chemicals in your blood. Based on how much of these chemicals there are in your blood, your doctor can work out if there could be something wrong.3

Liver function tests are used to decide if you need to start treatment or to figure out how well your current treatment is working.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is used to check if there is anything abnormal in your liver, such as cancer. Regular ultrasounds can mean abnormalities get found sooner and are easier to treat.4

Fibroscan® (transient elastography)

FibroScan® is a device that works a bit like an ultrasound but can provide more information about your liver. It is used to measure how much cirrhosis (scarring) is on your liver,3 but it is not available everywhere.

You will need to lie down on your back and the doctor will place the device on your skin over the liver area. You will feel a gentle pulse while it scans your liver. This test takes about ten minutes and does not hurt.

The Fibroscan® reading is used to:

  • estimate how much liver damage there is
  • track if your liver health is getting better or worse
  • work out if you need to start or change treatment.5

Download this factsheet


More information

Use the following links to find out more about hepatitis B

About Hepatitis B

Symptoms of Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B vaccinations

Testing for Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B Treatment

References:

  1. ASHM. (2019). Hepatitis B. Retrieved from All Good: http://allgood.org.au/english/hbv/
  2. Hepatitis B Foundation. (2016, 02 15). Diagnosed With Chronic Hepatitis B? What Does Your HBV DNA Test Tell You? Retrieved from Hepatitis B Foundation: www.hepb.org/blog/diagnosed-with-chronic-hepatitis-b-what-does-your-hbv-dna-test-tell-you/
  3. Hepatitis NSW. (2017, August 18). Hepatitis factsheet: Liver function tests. Retrieved from Hepatitis NSW: https://www.hep.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Factsheet-Liver-function-tests.pdf
  4. Hepatitis Victoria. (n.d.). Testing: Diagnosing and monitoring hepatitis B. Retrieved from Hepatitis Victoria: https://www.hepvic.org.au/page/7/hepatitis-b-testing
  5. ASHM. (2014). B Posititve: All you wanted to know about hepatitis B. Darlinghurst NSW: ASHM. Retrieved from https://www.ashm.org.au/products/product/1976963310