• TMC upgrades liver screening capabilities

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    Upgraded, non-invasive FibroScan technology acquired recently by The Medical City (TMC) in Ortigas will improve the health facility’s capabilities in screening and diagnosis of the liver, TMC said in a statement.

    The Medical City Center for Liver Disease Management and Transplantation (CLDMT) introduced the first FibroScan machine in the Philippines in 2010, and has just acquired the next-generation FibroScan 502, which offers more personalized exam results and treatment recommendations, TMC explained.

    The liver is one of the largest and most vital organs and it performs many important jobs, including protein production, changing food into energy and removing toxic or poisonous substances from the blood. One cannot live without a functioning liver.

    There are a number of diseases that can injure the liver and stop it from working correctly. One of these is hepatitis or the inflammation of the liver, which can lead to scarring (cirrhosis) or cancer. Viruses cause most cases of hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is the most common cause of liver disease in the world.

    A person with a liver problem may not be symptomatic in the early stages of the disease. Sometimes the disease may be identified during routine tests for other reasons. However, once liver problems reach a certain point, symptoms will start showing up. The most common symptoms of liver disease include weakness and fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and yellow discoloration of the skin or jaundice.

    A representative from TMC explained in a brief phone interview, “There are really no specific signs that a person should watch out for, but a doctor can decide if further assessment of the liver is needed.”

    “Based on recommendations from the patient’s doctor, or sometimes indicators from a blood test we can do a screening to see if there are liver problems,” TMC said. “That is why it is important to have regular health checkups.”

    A doctor may order a liver function test if a patient has risk factors for liver damage or disease, such as frequent alcohol intake, a family with a history of liver disease, being overweight and having diabetes or high blood pressure, or if the patient is taking medicine that can harm the liver.

    FibroScan probe at TMC

    The FibroScan probe is a non-invasive, painless alternative to biopsies used for assessing fibrosis, or the formation of scar tissue due to injury or long-term inflammation of the liver, TMC explained. The early detection of fibrosis is the key to preventing chronic liver disease, which is associated with conditions such as Hepatitis B, alcoholic liver disease, and fatty liver disease.

    Pressed gently against the upper right side of the patient’s abdomen, the probe makes use of transient elastography, creating a special pulse whose velocity is measured via ultrasound. The velocity determines how stiff the patient’s liver is—the stiffer the liver, the greater the degree of fibrosis. Based on the test’s results, the patient may then be recommended to CLDMT specialists for further analysis and treatment.

    The CLDMT’s recently acquired FibroScan502 Touch offers an improved patient data management system with more complete and personalized exam reports. It is compatible with the complete range of FibroScan probes and offers the simultaneous connection of two probes giving flexibility for the patient assessment. An indicator recommends the probe best suited to the patient’s morphology, TMC explained.

    The FibroScan examination is painless, quick, and easy, the clinic added. “You will only feel a slight vibration on the skin where the tip of the probe is applied,” it said.

    The examination takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The patient can go back to his or her usual activities immediately after the procedure.

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