Pathophysiology: Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory disease which is mainly affects liver. Viral hepatitis is classified as A, B, C, D, E and G. Hepatitis viruses cause liver damage. Inflammation happens throughout liver and hepatocytes are destroyed by cytotoxic cytokines and natural killer cells. Cellular necrosis occur but liver usually able to repair itself and regain complete function if no other complications occur. There are three phases: Prodromal phase, Icteric phase and Recovery phase.
Disease Statistics: The epidemiology of viral hepatitis has changed. Since the introduction of safe and effective vaccines for HAV and HBV in the 1980s, the incidence of acute infections caused by these viruses has been declining in the UK. At the same time, HEV has been recognised as an increasingly important cause of acute hepatitis.
Treatment: Intravenous rehydration is given as supportive care but no specific emergency treatment is recommended as such. Patients are admitted in conditions of severe complications. Evaluation for hepatic encephalopathy is done. Certain patients may benefit from pharmacologic therapy. Patients are advised to avoid prolonged or vigorous physical exertion until their symptoms improve and maintain adequate hydration.
Research: Major research has been more focussed toward HepE in institutes such as Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh.