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. With hepatitis, the liver stops working well. It 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.
According to the doctors at The Medical City (TMC) Center for Liver Disease Management and Transplantation (CLDMT), if you wait for these warning signs or symptoms before caring for your liver, it might be too late. An effective way of keeping track of your health is through regular health screening.
There are also liver function tests which are blood tests that help determine the health of your liver by measuring the levels of proteins, liver enzymes, or bilirubin in your blood.
Your doctor may order a liver function test if you’re more likely to have liver damage or disease, like if you are a heavy drinker, or if you come from a family with a history of liver disease, if you are overweight and have diabetes or high blood pressure or if you are taking medicine that can harm your liver.
FibroScan Probe at The Medical City
In 2010, CLDMT introduced the first FibroScan probe in the Philippines. The FibroScan probe is a non-invasive, painless, and speedy alternative to biopsies used for assessing fibrosis, or the formation of scar tissue due to injury or long-term inflammation. 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 recently acquired an enhanced FibroScan 502 Touch which offers a more improved patient data management system with more complete and personalized exam reports. It is compatible with the complete range of FibroScan probes and offers simultaneous connection of two probes giving flexibility for the patient assessment. An indicator recommends the probe best suited to the patient’s morphology.
The FibroScan examination is painless, quick, and easy. You will only feel a slight vibration on the skin where the tip of the probe is applied.
The examination usually takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The patient can go back to his usual activities immediately after the procedure.
If you suffer from a liver disease, ask your doctor about the FibroScan at The Medical City.
The CLDMT is a world-class facility managed by a team of internationally trained and renowned liver surgeons, transplant surgeons, hepatologists, radiologists, oncologists, pediatricians, and intensivists. The Liver Center offers diagnostic, therapeutic, medical, surgical, and radiologic services for acute and chronic liver conditions. For inquiries, call the CLDMT at 9881000 local 6506.