Hepatitis vs. Jaundice

The difference between hepatitis and jaundice is that hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver due to any viral or bacterial infection or toxin, ischemia, drugs or any other cause while jaundice is a condition in which abundant amount of bilirubin is deposited in the blood resulting in yellow discoloration of sclera and skin.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Hepatitis vs. Jaundice

There are many differences between hepatitis and jaundice. Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver while jaundice is the yellow discoloration of the skin and sclera due to the abundant deposition of bile salts especially bilirubin.

The patients affected with hepatitis may develop jaundice in the advanced stage of disease while the patients suffering from jaundice may or may not have hepatitis. Hepatitis is, in fact, a disease while jaundice is the clinical presentation (sign and symptom) of the disease.

There are many causes of hepatitis-like viral, bacterial or fungal attack, drugs, toxins or ischemia while the cause of jaundice is the enhanced level of bile salts in the blood especially bilirubin.

There are five types of hepatitis, i.e., Hepatitis A, Hep B, Hep c, Hep D and Hep E. While there are three different types of jaundice, i.e., pre hepatic or hepatocellular jaundice, hepatic jaundice or post-hepatic or obstructive jaundice.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The diagnosis of hepatitis is made by history and clinical examination. Certain investigations may be required like Hep B virus surface antigen and Hep C virus surface antibody (Anti HCV). PCR may also be done, and LFTs are required to check the effect on the functions of the liver. Investigations required for jaundice are CBC, LFTs, serum bilirubin, MRCP, ERCP, and CT scan if the pancreas is involved.

Hepatitis is treated according to the underlying cause. Antiviral drugs are given in the case of viral hepatitis. If hepatitis occurs due to any drug or toxin, avoidance from that toxin or drug is advised. Jaundice is also treated according to the underlying cause. Hemolysis and anemia are corrected in case of prehepatic jaundice. Obstruction is removed in case of post-hepatic jaundice.

Complications of hepatitis may include liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, bleeding disorders, upper GI bleed, ascites, hepatorenal and hepatopulmonary syndrome. The complications of jaundice occur according to the underlying cause. Cholangitis, CBD damage, infection, and pancreatitis.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Contents: Difference between Hepatitis and Jaundice

Comparison chart

Basis Hepatitis Jaundice
Definition Hepatitis is a condition in which the liver is inflamed due to any viral, bacterial or parasitic infection or drug or toxin.Jaundice is the yellow discoloration of sclera or skin due to hepatitis or any other reason.
What is Hepatitis itself is a disease.Jaundice is the manifestation (sign and symptom) of a disease process.
Underlying cause There may be many reasons for hepatitis, i.e., viral, bacterial, parasitic infection, drugs, toxins or any other reason.There may be many causes of jaundice like hepatitis, stones in CBD, pancreatic pseudocyst, anemia, worms, etc.
Types There are five different types of hepatitis, i.e., Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, Hep D, and Hep E.There are three different types of jaundice, pre-hepatic jaundice or hemolytic jaundice, hepatic jaundice or post-hepatic or obstructive jaundice.
Relation with each other Patient of hepatitis develops jaundice in the advanced stage of the disease.The patient is having jaundice may or may not have hepatitis.
Treatment Treatment of hepatitis is done according to the underlying cause. Antiviral drugs are given in case of viral hepatitis, antibiotics in case of bacterial infection. If a drug or toxin-induced hepatitis, the causative agent in abandoned.The treatment of jaundice is done according to the underlying cause. If it is due to stones of CBD, stones are surgically removed. If it is due to any tumor,surgical intervention is needed. If it is due to hemolysis, anemia is corrected. If the hepatic cause is there,  medical intervention is needed.
Complications Complications of hepatitis are hepatocellular carcinoma, liver cirrhosis, ascites, upper GI bleed, hepatorenal syndrome, and hepatoportal syndrome.Complications of jaundice are according to the underlying cause. If stones of CBD left untreated, hemorrhage and rupture of CBD would occur. If the tumor left untreated, metastasis could lead to death.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

What is hepatitis?

The word ‘itis’ refers to the inflammation in any body part thus hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver due to an infection, either viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal or due to any toxin or drug. Viral hepatitis is a prevalent cause of inflammation of the liver. Viral hepatitis is divided into five types, i.e., Hep A, Hep B, Hep C, Hep D, and Hep E. Hepatitis A and E are transmitted by orofecal route. The most common cause of these types of hepatitis is unhygienic food and dirty water. Hepatitis B and C are types of chronic diseases and transmitted by blood-borne infectious particles like infected needles, syringes, surgical instruments, shaving razors, from mother to fetus and by unprotected sexual intercourse. Hepatitis E is self-limiting and resolves within two weeks. For the treatment of Hepatitis B and C, pan-genotypic antiviral drugs are given. For hepatitis C, a three months drug regimen is advised if the liver is noncirrhotic. If the liver is cirrhotic, 6 months regimen is advised. For hepatitis B, life long antiviral therapy is recommended according to the latest guidelines. If hepatitis is due to any drug, abandon that drug immediately. Most common drugs affecting liver are aspirin and acetaminophen if overused. If hepatitis B or C is left untreated, many complications may occur like cirrhosis of the liver, ascites, hepatocellular carcinoma, esophageal vertices leading to upper GI bleed and hemorrhoids.

What is jaundice?

Jaundice is defined as the yellowish discoloration of skin and sclera. It is not a disease but manifestation of a disease process in the body. It occurs due to raised bile salts in the blood specifically bilirubin. There are three types of jaundice. Pre-hepatic, hepatic and post-hepatic jaundice. Pre-hepatic jaundice is also known as hemolytic jaundice, and it takes place due to increased breakdown of RBCs and thus increased the amount of unconjugated bilirubin in the blood because bilirubin is the end product of RBCs breakdown. Hepatic jaundice occurs due to any disorder of the liver like hepatitis, hepatic abscess or hepatocellular carcinoma. Post-hepatic or obstructive jaundice takes place due to any obstruction to the bile flow like CBD obstruction due to stones, tumors, worms, cholangitis or any mass pressing CBD from outside like carcinoma head of pancreas and duodenum carcinoma. Jaundice is treated by correcting the underlying etiology, and if left untreated, complications occur according to the underlying pathological process.

Key differences

  1. Hepatitis is a disease, and it is the inflammation of liver while jaundice is a manifestation of a disease and it is yellow discoloration of skin and sclera.
  2. Hepatitis may be due to viral or bacterial infection or due to toxins or drugs while jaundice may be due to hepatic disorder, increased RBCs breakdown or posthepatic
  3. Hepatitis is of 5 types, e., Hep A, B, C, D, and E while jaundice is of three types, i.e., pre-hepatic, hepatic and post-hepatic jaundice.
  4. For hepatitis, antiviral drugs are given while for treatment of jaundice, the underlying cause of jaundice is corrected.
  5. In hepatitis, jaundice occurs in the advanced stage while it is not necessary for jaundice to have underlying hepatitis.

Conclusion

Hepatitis and jaundice are the terms broadly used by the doctors and the common persons in our society. Since both are linked directly or indirectly to the liver, so often they are confused with each other. It is mandatory to know the differences between both. In the above article, we learned the clear differences between hepatitis and jaundice .

Leave a Comment