A Simple, Non-Surgical Liver Test Provides Accurate Information About Liver Health in Minutes
May 16, 2017
FibroScan Better Assesses Liver Health
Washington, D.C., May 16, 2017 - “That’s it? That was quick!”says Marc Calanog, 73, as he lay on the exam table after his first FibroScan test, at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
With his left hand stretched above his head, and his shirt pulled up to his chest, Calanog’s Fibroscan took about five minutes, and was as easy as an ultrasound of his abdomen.
In his case, physicians want to know if Calanog’s hepatitis B has caused any damage to his liver. Fibroscan is used to check for scarring on the liver as well as signs of fatty liver disease, which can lead to the need for a liver transplant.
In the past, doctors required a liver biopsy, an invasive procedure that sometimes requires moderate sedation, to understand the staging of a liver disease and identify the amount of fat on the liver. The side-effects of a liver biopsy include soreness of the area biopsied and possible bleeding and infection.
“One of the most important things for physicians to determine is if the patient is on the road to extreme scarring in the liver called cirrhosis and potentially liver cancer,” said Rohit Satoskar, MD and director of the Liver Screening Program at the MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute. “Fibroscan is a way that we can estimate how much scarring is in the liver without doing the traditional, invasive liver biopsy.”
FibroScan uses Vibration-Controlled Transient Elastography to accurately measure tissue stiffness, an indication of liver damage. This non-invasive technique helps doctors identify liver damage from a variety of conditions, including hepatitis C, hepatitis B, fatty liver disease and fibrosis.
Calanog visits MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute for continual monitoring of his hepatitis B and other conditions. Although there is no cure available for Calanog’s hepatitis B, his Fibroscan results help his doctors choose the best direction for his care.
“I’m convinced that, with this FibroScan information, my doctor will be more informed about my liver and know how to better guide my treatment,” says Calanog.
Early diagnosis of liver conditions prevents the progression of serious liver diseases and the eventual need for a liver transplant.
“The problem with most liver diseases is that they are silent until you get very advanced disease,” said Dr. Satoskar, “so it’s very important to get screened.”
For more information about the liver screening program at MedStar Georgetown, please contact Chloe Shreve, liver program coordinator, at [email protected] and 703-698-9254.
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