Skip to main content

Erin Yates, PA-C
Liver Specialists of Texas

Hepatitis is simply an inflammation of the liver. There are multiple causes of hepatitis including very common viruses such as hepatitis A, B and C. Hepatitis A virus is spread by close personal contact with someone who has the infection, eating food prepared by someone with hepatitis A or drinking contaminated water. Hepatitis B virus is a sexually transmitted disease or may be passed from a hepatitis B infected mother to child. It is not spread by shaking hands or hugging. The tables below show people at high risk of contracting hepatitis A and B.
TABLE 1: High risk populations

Hepatitis A (HAV)

Hepatitis B (HBV)

Travelers to developing countries with high rates of HAV (includes Mexico)

Men who have sex with men

IV drug users

People exposed to hepatitis A in a research setting

People who work with infected non-human primates

People who received clotting factors

People with chronic liver disease

People with multiple sex partners or at risk for STD

Sex partners and household contacts of peoplewho have HBV

Men who have sex with men

IV drug users

Travelers to countries with high rates of HBV

People who work with or near blood

Patients on dialysis

People who receive clotting factors


Children of HBV infected mothers

Symptoms of Hepatitis A and B can vary, ranging from no symptoms to feeling tired, nausea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dark urine, light stools, and yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). 
The treatment for hepatitis A is rest, it will pass and the exposed person will become immune to hepatitis A for the rest of their life.    Very rarely, the virus can cause an acute liver failure which may require liver transplantation.
Some people exposed to hepatitis B will become immune and never need treatment. Others who have the virus six months after infection will develop chronic hepatitis B. Treatment depends on lab test and may require a liver biopsy.
Fortunately, both hepatitis A and B are preventable by vaccination. The vaccines are safe and effective way to prevent disease for persons of all ages. They are well tolerated and do not make you sick after the vaccination. People who had an allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past should not be given the vaccine, nor should people who have known allergies any of the vaccine components.

It is very important for people in the high risk populations to be vaccinated. However, it is a good idea for all people to be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B since the vaccines are so safe and well tolerated. 
Commonly used vaccines for preventing hepatitis A and B include the following:
Twinrix: offers long-lasting protection against vaccine-preventable hepatitis (VPH), which includes hepatitis A and hepatitis B, through a single vaccine series. Vaccine-preventable hepatitis includes hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Hepatitis C is not vaccine preventable.
Engerix-B: This is a vaccine only providing immunity against hepatitis B, which is a noninfectious recombinant DNA vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKlein Biologicals.
 HAVRIX: This is a vaccine used to prevent hepatitis A. It has NO effect against hepatitis B. HAVRIX is administered as a 2-dose series with the initial dose followed by a booster dose 6 to 12 months later
People who have other liver diseases such as hepatitis C, autoimmune hepatitis, Wilson disease, hemochromatosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, fatty liver and cirrhosis should all receive vaccination for hepatitis A and B. If a person with chronic liver disease gets acute hepatitis A or B, it could cause a deterioration of the liver that would not usually affect a healthy liver. These people are at risk of becoming more ill from the virus than a normal person.
In summary, hepatitis A and B are viruses that cause inflammation of the liver. They are entirely preventable with safe and effective vaccines. All people should get hepatitis A and B vaccines, especially those who fall into a high risk population. If you are not sure if you need the vaccine, contact Dr. Galati and he will review your current lab tests and determine if vaccination is appropriate for you.
Vaccine safety in children has been raised over the years, and there has been concern that childhood vaccinations may increase the chance of developing autism. Recently, Dr. Galati interviewed Paul Offit, M.D., Chief of Infectious Disease at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and discussed this very important topic. Dr. Offit was a guest on Your Health First, a weekly radio program Dr. Galati hosts. Based on all available scientific data, there is no link between childhood vaccinations and autism. Click here to listen to the interview and additional supporting information on vaccine safety.

Obesity and Fatty Liver Disease

Obesity, and all of its related complications, is more serious than most adults in America believe. More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and certain types of cancer, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. We are seeing an increase in the number of young children and adolescents developing obesity, and all of the related complications.

The cost of obesity is staggering, with annual medical cost of obesity exceeding $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars. The medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Dr. Galati and the Liver Specialists of Texas team are dedicated to evaluate, treat, and manage all aspects of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD and NASH), including the complication of cirrhosis and liver failure. Developing a customized plan of care for each patient they see is their objective.

Liver Transplant Resources

Dr. Galati has been involved in Liver Transplantation since 1989. As Medical Director for the Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation at Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr. Galati has cared for thousands of patients with advanced liver disease. In those with the most severe form of advanced liver disease and cirrhosis, liver transplantation is a life-saving surgery. For more information on liver transplantation, click here.

Indications for liver transplant include:

Online LIVER Second Opinion

  • 1

    From the comfort of your home, without the need to spend additional money on travel, lodging, and food, receive and expert second opinion from the expert physicians at Liver Specialists of Texas

  • 2

    There are five steps in the process of requesting a second opinion. We anticipate the steps will take you about 30-65 minutes to complete.

  • 3

    Have your medical records or those of your loved one on hand as you fill out the medical history questionnaire portion of the online process. The medical history questionnaire is detailed so having medical records to quickly reference will help make the process more efficient.

  • 4

    To start the process of an Online Liver Second Opinion, please fill out the initial contact form and fax back to our office. A representative from our office will call you for additional details.