Alaska Native Medical Center

Hepatology and Liver Clinic

Services Offered

The ANMC Hepatology Clinic specializes in providing a full range of liver disease and hepatitis
services including:

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of conditions does the Hepatology Clinic treat?
Some common liver conditions we treat include chronic viral hepatitis (including hepatitis B and C), autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis and fatty liver disease. Your primary care provider will refer you to be seen and evaluated at the Hepatology Clinic if your liver lab tests are abnormal and indicate you may have a liver disease.

What can I expect during my appointment?
You will have your height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and temperature taken before you see the provider. The provider will review your medical records, examine you and discuss your liver health with you. Most clinic appointments will include a blood draw either before or after the visit.

How long is the appointment?
You should expect to be in the clinic for an hour for your first visit (including time for blood draw if needed) and 30-45 minutes for follow-up visits.

Will I be given hepatitis C treatment at my first appointment?
The first appointment is a pre-treatment evaluation of your liver disease. Treatment will be set up following that appointment if hepatitis C treatment is appropriate for you.

What does “hepatitis” mean?
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. There are three major types of viral (infectious) hepatitis and there are non-infectious liver diseases, like autoimmune hepatitis, alcohol hepatitis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

What is a Fibroscan®?
Most liver clinic patients have a FibroScan® at least once. It is different from an ultrasound of your liver. FibroScan® is a non-invasive way to measure the amount of scarring and fat in the liver. The test takes about 15 minutes. A probe is placed against the skin in the right upper abdominal area and a wave of energy passes from the probe through the skin to measure liver density. You will need to fast (no food or water) for three hours before the test.

Why do I need an ultrasound of my liver?
An ultrasound is a non-invasive way to screen for liver cancer and it shows the shape and size of your liver, the ducts surrounding the liver, the blood vessels to/from your liver, and it can show if there is fluid (ascites) around the liver.

Why is it recommended to abstain from alcohol use when I have liver disease?
Heavy alcohol consumption can damage a person’s liver cells, which can lead to scarring of the liver. When you have liver disease, abstaining from alcohol use may help repair the liver.

Do I need treatment if I have hepatitis B?
Most people with chronic hepatitis B infection do not need treatment unless their liver blood tests show a high level of virus in their blood. Anyone with hepatitis B should have a blood draw for liver tests and liver cancer screening every six months. If you have been diagnosed with hepatitis B, you will be sent a reminder letter every six months to have your blood tested.

Can I give my baby hepatitis B or hepatitis C while breastfeeding?
There is no risk of transmitting hepatitis B or C while breastfeeding unless your nipples are cracked and bleeding. All newborns should be vaccinated against hepatitis B starting at birth.

Why should I receive treatment for hepatitis C if I don’t have any symptoms?
Most people with hepatitis C do not have any symptoms, but the virus can still be spread to others. Also, if hepatitis C is left untreated, you can develop chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer over time.

How old should my child be before I have them tested for hepatitis C?
If you are a mother with hepatitis C, your child should be tested once after 12-18 months of age for hepatitis C antibody testing. A viral load can be drawn as early as 2 months of age if needed.

Why do I need blood draws during my appointments while on hepatitis C treatment?
Blood draws that are done monthly during treatment are for safely monitoring you and to determine if the treatment is working. Some patients may need more frequent monitoring due to the medications they are on or if they have advanced liver disease.

When am I considered cured of chronic hepatitis C?
You no longer have hepatitis C if the viral load is not detected 12 weeks after treatment completion.

Can I get hepatitis C again?
You are not immune to hepatitis C after treatment. You can get hepatitis C again if exposed to the virus.

How do I prevent from getting hepatitis C again?
Avoid risk factors for hepatitis C: Do not share needles or drug works, razors, toothbrushes, nail clippers and cover all cuts. Only obtain tattoos from licensed tattoo artists. Practice safe sex.

If I have autoimmune hepatitis or primary biliary cholangitis, are there treatments
available and how long do I have to take them?

Yes, there are very effective treatments available and you will likely have to take these daily for the rest of your life. Also, you should have your liver blood tests monitored every three to six months. If diagnosed with one of these autoimmune liver diseases, you will be sent a reminder letter every six months to have your blood tested.

If I have fatty liver, what can I expect to happen when I am seen?
Your provider will check you for other causes of liver disease and if you have fatty liver, you will undergo a FibroScan® to measure how much fat and scarring is in your liver. If you have a lot of scarring and fat, your liver clinic provider will discuss with you the benefits and risks of having a liver biopsy.

What is a liver biopsy?
A liver biopsy is a medical procedure to remove a very small piece of your liver to find out more about the health of your liver. It is done with IV and local anesthesia in the hospital. You will have a liver clinic appointment with a blood draw a day or two before a liver biopsy. You will be at the hospital for about three to four hours on the day of your liver biopsy. You will need an escort to be with you when you leave the hospital after a liver biopsy.

Is there a treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
Currently, there is no medication available to treat NAFLD. Gradual weight loss and exerciseare recommended. In the future, there may be FDA licensed drugs to treat this condition.

Patient Resources


Clinic Hours and Contact Information

Hours: 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday-Friday
Phone: (907) 729-1560 or 1-800- 655-4837
Location: Healthy Communities Building
3900 Ambassador Drive, third floor