Diagnosing liver disease before it's too late
What is Fibroscan?
Fibroscan is state-of-the-art technology that uses sound waves to measure the stiffness of the liver, and the amount of fat in the liver. The test is administered quickly and easily. Patients lie on their backs and raise their right arm. A probe that sends sound waves into the liver is passed along the lower chest wall. That’s it. Data is automatically processed by the on-board computer.
Fibroscan at the University of Alberta Hospital
Adding a new, advanced Fibroscan at the University of Alberta Hospital will vastly improve the chances of detecting liver disease in its early stages.
The medical team will be able to conduct 30 to 40 tests a day on patients who have had abnormal liver tests. The Fibroscan will diagnose whether these patients require further detailed assessments or have conditions that can be corrected with lifestyle changes.
The Fibroscan will also be used on patients already receiving treatment for liver disease.The two-minute test will enable doctors to monitor the progression of the disease and plan long-term care.
Who gets liver disease?
There are more than 100 known forms of liver disease caused by a variety of factors and affecting everyone from infants to seniors.A lesser known but potentially fatal form of liver disease is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Left undiagnosed NASH - liver inflammation and damage caused by a buildup of fat - may progress to cirrhosis,liver failure or liver cancer.
The unique challenge with NASH is that it impacts individuals who have no reason to believe they have liver disease, and likely no physical symptoms. The first, and sometimes only, sign that something maybe wrong is often an irregular result on a routine blood test. With a new Fibroscan, patients will have a much easier time finding out whether the irregularity is tied to liver disease.
“Fibroscan is not like a biopsy,” explained Dr. Mang Ma,
a Hepatologist at the University of Alberta Hospital. “There’s no pain. It’s quick. It’s easy. And in two minutes we can tell you whether you need to comeback or not.”
Providing answers when you need them
The Hepatology clinic at the University of Alberta Hospital’s Gastroenterology program sees patients from across northern Alberta, northern BC, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan.
For these patients, Fibroscan provides the answers they need immediately. There is no further testing. No waiting for results. And they return home with a treatment plan, if one is required.