Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Lots of things can cause the liver to become inflamed. Often, a virus is responsible. In the United States, the hepatitis A, B, and C viruses are the most common types of hepatitis.
Hepatitis A typically resolves on its own, but both hepatitis B and C can lead to chronic inflammation, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even liver failure when left untreated. The hepatitis D and hepatitis E viruses can cause symptoms too, but these types are rare.
Other causes of hepatitis include medications, alcohol, and certain chemicals, as well as other types of viruses. Some people develop autoimmune hepatitis, which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the liver.
NYU Langone doctors provide vaccination and preventive strategies to protect people from viral hepatitis, screening for those at risk of infection, and treatment for those diagnosed with a hepatitis infection. Our experts recognize that hepatitis can have a significant impact on quality of life and that no two experiences of living with the disease are alike.
Most forms of viral hepatitis are treatable, even in people who develop cirrhosis, which is liver scarring. Our doctors have treatments to keep the damage from worsening. For those who have highly advanced liver disease or damage, our team at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute offers liver transplant surgery and other specialized services. Doctors at NYU Langone are also continually engaged in research to evaluate more-effective treatments.
Hepatitis treatment may vary by the cause and severity of the infection. For those diagnosed with hepatitis B or C, our experts work together to create and coordinate personalized care plans to suppress the virus and, when possible, provide a cure. Our doctors can recommend antiviral medical therapies that have the potential to treat hepatitis B and C effectively, without the side effects of prior treatments.
Treatment is also available for hepatitis A and hepatitis E, although these conditions often resolve on their own without therapy. An infection with hepatitis D may be treated with a group of medications called pegylated interferon.
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