Hepatitis encyclopaedia

In this hepatitis encyclopaedia, we have compiled the most important foreign words and terminology for you and explained them in more detail.


Relating to the abdomen, the stomach area

A protein involved in transporting important blood components (hormones, calcium, fatty acids, drugs, etc.)

Of recent onset, sudden

Alanine aminotransferase – an enzyme (transaminase) that is mainly found in the liver

Anamnesis (also known as medical history)
The process by which the doctor reconstructs the patient’s medical background

A protein that – in the presence of an antigen – is synthesised in the body to neutralise the effect of the antigen. Antibodies are significantly involved in the mechanisms of the immune system

A foreign substance that is capable of triggering an immune response to eliminate the substance

Alkaline phosphatases are enzymes found mainly in the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and bones. The determination of ALP activity is mainly prescribed as part of a liver check-up or if bone disease is suspected

Aspartate aminotransferase – an enzyme (transaminase) that is mainly found in the liver, muscles and heart

Without recognisable symptoms

Abdominal dropsy


The yellow bile pigment. An excess of bilirubin in the blood leads to jaundice

A fluid produced and released in the liver that is collected in the gallbladder to aid digestion

The removal of a tissue sample from the living body for microscopic examination


The complete blood count (CBC) – a test in which the cells present in the blood are counted: Red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets

Child-Pugh classification
A rating system for assessing the severity of hepatitis, with a prognosis based on different stages, based on the results of medical examinations

Persistent, ongoing

A condom is a contraceptive that also protects against diseases that may be transmitted through sexual contact.

Concurrent infection
In the case of a concurrent infection, the hepatitis D virus (HDV) enters the body at the same time as the hepatitis B virus (HBV)

See liver cirrhosis


Decompensation, hepatic
The body’s inability to compensate for the gradual failure of the liver as a result of liver cirrhosis

Deoxyribonucleic acid – as the carrier of the genetic material, it contains the genetic information


A protein that can activate or accelerate a chemical reaction


A blood test that helps in the assessment and management of liver fibrosis. The FibroMeter test provides a measured value between 0 and 1, which represents the probability of liver fibrosis or cirrhosis

A test that makes it possible to make a statement about the hardening of the liver. The more severe the fibrosis, the harder (stiffer) the liver is. The advantage of this test is that it is painless and non-invasive

A tissue alteration caused by surgery, chemical substances or a virus, which leads to a decrease in elasticity, the storage of collagen fibres in the organ and/or scarring, followed by an impairment of blood flow (hypertension)

A non-invasive blood test for the diagnosis and quantification of liver fibrosis using various blood markers

Lightning-like onset, rapid and violent progression


Concerning the stomach and intestines

GGT/ Gamma-GT
Gamma-glutamyltransferase (or -transpeptidase) – an enzyme produced in the liver cells

Golgi apparatus
A cell organelle that is involved in the sorting of molecules and their onward transport and in which the remodelling of specific proteins takes place


Hepatic (hepatische, hepatischer, hepatischen, hepatisches)
Concerning the liver

Hepatic decompensation
The body’s inability to compensate for the gradual failure of the liver as a result of liver cirrhosis

Hepatitis B
A disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in which liver cells are attacked and inflammation is caused. This virus is mainly found in the blood and sexual fluids of infected people

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). A new infection with the virus rarely leads to symptoms and can heal itself in the first six months. In most cases, however, the acute infection becomes chronic and remains permanently in the body. There are now drugs that make it possible to cure an HCV infection. However, if the HCV infection is not treated, serious long-term consequences can occur after many years.

Hepatitis D
A disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV), which is only able to replicate in the presence of the hepatitis B virus. This superinfection leads to a much more severe course of the disease compared to an HBV mono-infection

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
Hepatocellular carcinoma, also known as HCC, is a liver cancer that develops from liver cells (or hepatocytes). In the vast majority of cases, it occurs in a liver that is already damaged by a chronic disease

Liver cells

Hepatic encephalopathy
Impaired consciousness that develops as a result of liver failure

Hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma, also known as HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma) is a cancer of the liver that develops from the liver cells (hepatocytes). In the vast majority of cases, it occurs in a liver that is already damaged by a chronic disease.



Incubation period
The time between infection and the outbreak of an infectious disease

A medical examination method that penetrates the organism and thus causes an injury


A yellow colouration of the whites of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes, indicating the presence of bilirubin in the blood, which is normally excreted by the liver


A body organ located in the right upper abdomen that plays a role in the synthesis and storage of proteins, the liver also plays a role in metabolism and is responsible for the breakdown and excretion of metabolic products

Liver biopsy
A tissue sample taken from the liver

Liver cancer
Cancer of the liver occurs when cells in the liver (hepatocytes) degenerate and begin to proliferate uncontrollably

Liver failure
The inability of the liver to maintain its normal synthetic and metabolic functions

Liver cirrhosis
Chronic disease of the liver in which connective tissue proliferates and replaces healthy liver tissue (fibrosis). This gradually leads to an impairment of liver function. It is a serious and progressive disease that can lead to hardening, scarring and shrinkage of the liver.


Metavir (score)
Value (score) determined by analysing the tissue sample taken from the liver during a biopsy, which provides information on the degree of inflammation and fibrosis status. The letter A indicates hepatitis activity, and the letter F indicates the degree of fibrosis. The letters are given together with a number that indicates the severity of the disease

Concerning the structure and shape of organisms


A medical examination method that does not penetrate the body and, therefore, does not cause injury


Oesophageal varices
Varicose veins in the oesophagus


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a detection method for amplifying DNA fragments to obtain a large number of identical copies of the same DNA fragment

Prothrombin time. A test that analyses the blood factors involved in coagulation



Ribonucleic acid, an organic acid found in the cell as a single-stranded, thread-like macromolecule, fulfils various bodily functions. The most important is converting genetic information into proteins, the so-called protein biosynthesis. The RNA provides the building instructions for the proteins.

Ribonucleoproteins (RNP)
Complexes of RNA and RNA-binding proteins


A field of research that deals with serums, in particular their properties, components and changes over time

Serum (blood serum)
The liquid part of the blood without blood cells and coagulation factors

In a superinfection, the hepatitis D virus infects a person who is already a carrier of a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus


Thromboplastin time – a test to check blood clotting or clotting factors

Enzymes that occur inside cells, especially liver and muscle cells

A cellular process in which DNA sequences are copied and transferred into messenger RNA (mRNA), which is required for protein biosynthesis

Translation (protein translation)
A cellular process of protein biosynthesis in which the information of the single-stranded messenger RNA (mRNA) is translated into the amino acid sequence of the proteins

Surgical procedure in which a functional organ is transferred from one individual to another


The biological unit of viruses (synonym = virus particle)

Viral epidemiology
Occurrence of the virus

Virus load
The amount of virus in the blood or in an organ. It is used to assess the severity of the infection and to check the effectiveness of the treatment

Intensity of the infection

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  1. Glossary of Terms Related to Hepatitis B. https://www.hepb.org/resources-and-support/Lexikony-of-terms-related-to-hepatitis-b/; last accessed: January 2024.
  2. Ratgeber Hepatitis B-Virusinfektion (Eleni Koukoulioti, Prof. Dr. Thomas Berg) Lexikon https://docplayer.org/33210226-Ratgeber-hepatitis-b-virusinfektion-eleni-koukoulioti-prof-dr-thomas-berg.html; last accessed: January 2024.
  3. Laborlexikon Fachgebiet: Labormedizin.
    https://flexikon.doccheck.com/de/Kategorie:Labormedizin?utm_source=laborlexikon.de&utm_medium=laborlexikon.de&utm_campaign=laborlexikon.de; last accessed: January 2024.
  4. Robert Koch Institut (RKI). RKI-Ratgeber Hepatitis C. https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Merkblaetter/Ratgeber_HepatitisC.html#doc2389942bodyText5; last accessed: January 2024.