Lab Test

Hepatitis A Antibody IgM (HAV IgM)

Antibody to HAV, IgM, Hepatitis A Specific IgM Antibody, Hepatitis A Antibody, IgM (HAV IgM)

Test Codes

EPIC: LAB5217, Beaker: HAVM, Antrim: 31332



Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect (preferred specimen): One Gold-top SST tube. (Minimum Whole Blood: 4.0 mL)
Also acceptable: One Lavender-top EDTA tube. (Minimum Whole Blood: 3.0 mL) 

Note: Patient Preparation (Royal Oak ONLY): Twenty-four (24) hours before this test, the patient should not take multivitamins or dietary supplements containing biotin (vitamin B7) which is commonly found in hair, skin and nail supplements and multivitamins.

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

  • Let SST specimens clot 30-60 minutes then immediately centrifuge to separate serum from cells. Refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F) the centrifuged SST tube within two hours of collection. (Minimum: 2.0 mL)
  • Centrifuge Lavender-top tube immediately to separate plasma from cells. Transfer plasma to a plastic transport tube and refrigerate (2-8°C or 36-46°F) within twelve hours of collection. (Minimum: 2.0 mL) 

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Centrifuged SST tube or plasma aliquot, refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F). (Minimum: 2.0 mL serum or plasma)

Rejection Criteria

  • Hemolyzed specimens.
  • Severely lipemic specimens.
  • Red-top tubes with serum not separated from cells within two hours of collection.
  • Lavender-top tubes with plasma not separated from cells within twelve hours of collection. 

In-Lab Processing

Let SST specimens clot 30-60 minutes. Centrifuge SST, Lavender-top tubes, or Microtainers® to separate serum or plasma from cells. Deliver immediately to the appropriate testing station.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Centrifuged SST Tubes and Microtainers® with Separator Gel
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 2-4 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Red-top Tubes and Microtainers® without Separator Gel
Room Temperature (20-25°C or 68-77°F): 2-4 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): Unacceptable
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Serum Specimens (Pour-Overs)
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 2-4 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days

Plasma Specimens (Aliquots)
Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 12 hours
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): 7 days

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): 7 days


Dearborn Chemistry Laboratory

Royal Oak Automated Chemistry Laboratory 


Sunday – Saturday, 24 hours a day.
Results available within 24 hours of receipt in the Laboratory.

Reference Range

Negative / Non-reactive.

Test Methodology

Chemiluminescence Immunoassay.


  • A positive/reactive result for HAV-IgM may indicate a current or recent infection, however it may also represent a false positive result. A patient with an acute HAV infection is expected to have a positive/reactive HAV-IgG result in addition to the reactive HAV-IgM.
  • This test cannot determine a patient's immune status to hepatitis A. The HAV IgG test should be ordered in these cases.
  • Patients with an Equivocal / Borderline result should be closely monitored by redrawing and retesting at approximately one-week intervals as clinically indicated.

Clinical Utility

  • This assay is a qualitative procedure for detecting the presence or absence of hepatitis A virus IgM in serum and plasma specimens. The HAV IgM test is used as an aid in the diagnosis of an acute or recent (usually six months or less) hepatitis A viral infection. This test should be ordered when acute Hepatitis A infection is suspected.
  • IgM antibodies are present at the onset of symptoms and peak approximately 4 weeks later. IgM antibodies usually disappear 3-6 months after the onset of disease. The presence of HAV-specific IgM in serum indicates a current or recent infection. (1)
  • The incubation period is 10-50 days with a mean incubation time of 1 month. (1)
  • The symptoms of hepatitis A may include fatigue, poor appetite, fever and vomiting. Urine may become darker in color, and then jaundice may appear. The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. Infants and young children tend to have very mild symptoms and are less likely to develop jaundice than older children and adults.


Hepatitis A has a worldwide distribution and man is the only known reservoir for the virus. Recurrent epidemics are a prominent feature of the disease. In the U.S., the disease appears to peak in the fall and winter months. HAV is endemic in many developing countries and childhood infection is common. In developing countries, up to 90% of adults have antibodies to the virus. In industrialized countries HAV antibodies are uncommon in young children (less than 5%) but they are present in 5-20% of those under 20 years of age and in 30-50% of older adults. (1)


Transmission is predominantly by the fecal-oral route or through contaminated water or food. Fomites and person-to-person spread are principal means of transmission, especially in day care centers handling children under two years of age. Patients are infectious 2-3 weeks before the onset of symptoms and for approximately 8 days thereafter. (1)


  1. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, ed Mandel, 7th ed, Chap. 115, 116.

CPT Codes



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