The Record Special Sections Health Quarterly 02-15-2018

Health Quarterly Bindu Balani, M.D., medical director of the Hepatitis Treatment Center at Hackensack MeridianHealth Hackensack University Medical Center, says Hepatitis C is an infec- tion of the liver with the majority of patients being asymptomatic and unaware they are infected. Most cases become chronic, affecting the liver in various degrees of severity. It is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. There’s Hope for Hepatitis C Patients New Treatments Increase Cure Rates By KATHLEEN MATHIEU Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center. “The difference is like night and day,” said Dr. Balani. “It is amazing to he face of hepatitis C is changing me as a provider to offer these medications as new treatments with stunning to them with such a great success rate.” cure rates bring hope and challenges PATIENT-FRIENDLY to patients and healthcare providers. TREATMENT PLANS DRAMATIC New drugs called direct acting anti-virals, NEW CURE RATES readily available for only the last few years, Mark Sapienza, MD, section chief of are making possible remarkable results with gastroenterology at Englewood Hospital few side effects, in sharp contrast to treat- and Medical Center, can recollect a time in ments of the past. “There are virtually no the 1990s when medical school instructors side effects,” said Dr. Sapienza. In addition, told students there would never be a cure the care plan, including diagnosis, is not for a disease so common that it has a nick- cumbersome. Eventually, a lab test is per- name, Hep C. Fast forward to today, and formed at an appropriate time to see if the treatments are resulting in cure rates of virus remains in the patient’s blood. A person 95 percent and more. “The evolution of this is considered cured if no virus is detected. Hepatitis C patients are welcoming more has been nothing short of a miracle,” said than the ease and success rates of these Dr. Sapienza. The advent of this new reality for hepatitis new modalities. While previous drug regi- mens were debilitating, today’s lack of side C patients has been quite meaningful, said Bindu Balani, MD, medical director of the See ‘SILENT EPIDEMIC’, Page 8N Hepatitis Treatment Center at Hackensack Special to Health Quarterly ■ Tennis Player Survives Rare Cardiac Condition ■ ■ Knowing the Indoor Air We Breathe Is Clean and Healthy Heart Healthy Emergency… and How to Respond ■ Heart Failure Is Both Treatable and With Care, Preventable ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT TO FEBRUARY 15, 2018 T