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Treatments & Specialties

Fibroscan

Fibroscan is a painless test used for evaluating changes in the liver. The technique is used to measure hepatic fibrosis in a totally non-invasive and painless manner, with no risks for the patient. It's a simple, non-invasive test performed in the outpatient clinic that assesses liver fibrosis by measuring liver stiffness (LSM). Fibroscan is recommended by NICE as the most cost-effective non-invasive test to predict liver fibrosis, irrespective of the underlying cause of the liver disease. Fibroscan to assess liver fibrosis stage should be performed in people suspected of having liver disease due to any of the following conditions:

  • Obesity or diabetes-related liver disease known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • Alcohol-related liver disease
  • Hepatitis C or Hepatitis B virus
  • Other types of chronic liver disease such as autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, haemochromatosis or unexplained persistently raised liver test results

Please note that normal liver test results do not exclude liver fibrosis in person with an identified cause of liver disease. How to book an appointment for a Fibroscan? Fibroscans must be ordered by a referring Physician using the Referral Form (above).To book your appointment please call our Scheduling team on 020 7234 2107. The Fibroscan is performed in outpatients’ facilities at London Bridge Hospital. Patients must not eat or drink for three hours prior to the Fibroscan. The Fibroscan result with a report will be sent to the ordering Physician's clinic via email or fax within 2 working days. Please bring your referral form with you to the appointment.

Liver fibrosis is a process whereby collagen (scar tissue) is made in the liver in response to liver damage due to conditions such as alcohol misuse, Hepatitis B or C virus infections and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Over time, the build-up of fibrosis can progress to a condition called cirrhosis. People with liver fibrosis who are at risk of developing cirrhosis may not show symptoms or signs of liver disease. Once cirrhosis has developed, it can cause liver failure resulting in hepatic encephalopathy (brain dysfunction associated with elevated blood nitrogen levels). Cirrhosis can also cause increased pressure in the veins leading to the liver, resulting in ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity) or bleeding from varices (enlarged veins in the lower part of the oesophagus). The risk of primary liver cancer is greatly increased once cirrhosis develops. Earlier recognition of individuals with liver fibrosis could allow for more timely intervention to prevent progression to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. Historically, liver biopsy performed in secondary care was the only diagnostic method for confirming fibrosis. However, biopsy can be associated with life-threatening complications and pain. Consequently, non-invasive tests have been developed to detect fibrosis, such as Fibroscan. 

Opening Hours:
Contact:
Telephone:Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7234 2239 (information) / +44 (0) 20 7234 2107 (bookings)
Email: info.lbh@hcahealthcare.co.uk

Examination Process:

A probe is placed at the skin’s surface.  Using a combination of an elastic wave (generated by a mechanical pulse) and ultrasound technology, a numerical value is recorded. The stiffer the liver, the higher the value. The degree of stiffness of the liver is an indicator of damage, from whatever cause. Ten valid readings must be recorded.  The test is completely painless and normally takes up to half an hour to complete.

Conditions: 

Fibroscan technology allows accurate assessment of liver fibrosis resulting from various pathologies that cause damage to the liver, including metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic viral hepatitis and excess alcohol intake.

Diagnosis:

With no restriction on the frequency of use, fibroscan can monitor the progression, stagnation or regression of an individual’s liver disease and give an accurate quantitative measure of the success of treatments or lifestyle modification.

In some cases fibroscan may reduce the need for liver biopsy when assessing disease progress.

Preparations:

  • A request form must be received by the nursing staff performing the test
  • The patient must fast from food 2 hours prior to the test.  Water is allowed.
  • Access to the right abdominal area is required, so the patient does not need to undress

Treatment:

In the early stages of liver disease, symptoms are almost non-existent and liver function tests and conventional ultrasound have a poor predictive value in assessing fibrosis.
The fibroscan is a very useful diagnostic tool for a hepatologist to accurately identify patients with significant liver disease - allowing treatment to be tailored to the individuals need.
 
Fibroscan should not be used on patients with ascites, patients who are pregnant, patients under the age of 18 years, or patients who have implanted electronic devices.
 
Please note: It is very difficult to gather complete accuracy if the patient has a waistline measuring more than 100 cm.