What is hepatitis D?
The hepatitis D virus (HDV) is an RNA virus discovered in 1977 that is structurally unrelated to the hepatitis A, B or C virus. HDV causes a unique infection that requires the assistance of viral particles from hepatitis B virus (HBV) to replicate and infect other hepatocytes. Its clinical course is varied and ranges from acute self-limited infection to acute fulminant liver failure. Chronic liver infection can lead to end-stage liver disease and associated complications. HDV infection occurs more commonly among adults than children. It is observed more commonly among patients with a history of intravenous drug use and in persons from the Mediterranean basin.
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea with vomiting
- Confusion, bruising, and bleeding (rare)
- Scleral icterus
- Blood tests for virus and liver function
Treatment consists primarily of support. Liver transplantation is indicated in patients with fulminant liver failure.