In the good o’days, the way you knew if you drank too much was by waking up to find your face covered in last evening’s fish and chips. Now, however, the inventors of the Fibroscan, a French company called EchoSens, hope to be able to quickly and easily scan a person’s liver for evidence of cirrhotic damage.
From the article at the Daily Mail:
A new five-minute scan can warn drinkers if they are in danger of developing serious liver disease. The breakthrough comes as rising numbers of people fall ill to liver disease, with widespread ignorance of the risks.
Until now, damage could be accurately tested only by sticking a biopsy needle into the liver through the stomach wall.
But this damages the liver – and, occasionally, can result in death – so it’s not used for routine health screening.
But a new machine, which works using similar technology to ultrasound, is able to assess the degree of liver damage a drinker may be doing to themselves.
The device is, of course, a transient elastography system. According to the company’s website:
The FibroScan® offers an instantaneous, totally non-invasive assessment of hepatic fibrosis. The method is inoffensive and allows highly regular monitoring of hepatic fibrosis. Furthermore, it can grade the varying degrees of cirrhosis of the liver.
The advantages of ultrasound elastography:
Painless examination Instantaneous result Direct evaluation of the liver, independent of extra-hepatic conditions An operator-independent measurement Very easy to use