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16503Liver stiffness scan shows cirrhosis by Jared Reed Liver fibrosis can be easil

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  • scarletpaolicchi
    Oct 13, 2009
      Liver stiffness scan shows cirrhosis

      by Jared Reed

      Liver fibrosis can be easily identified with a non-invasive ultrasound scanning device for liver stiffness, researchers at a Melbourne teaching hospital say.

      The Fibroscan device is proving particularly useful in patients with hepatitis C, say gastroenterologists from The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

      Reporting their experience with the scanner in 1300 procedures, they found that the four minute scan obtained valid readings in 95% of cases.

      About half the indications were hepatitis C, and the remainder were hepatitis B, steatohepatitis, alcoholism and HIV, they will tell the annual Australian Gastrointestinal Week conference in Sydney next week.

      "Fibroscan is a quick and reliable noninvasive technique that can be applied successfully in the vast majority of patients to estimate liver fibrosis. The commonest indication for Fibroscan is chronic hepatitis C consistent with the substantial data validating the technique in this condition," they write.

      "While this technique looks promising in the evaluation of patients with liver disease, further studies are needed to determine its impact on clinical management," they conclude.

      Other researchers say the scan may be an alternative to a liver biopsy for fibrosis assessment, but it is unable to determine the cause of a liver disease or to distinguish subtle diagnostic differences such as NASH from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), or measure disease activity.

      13 October 2009