Liver Stiffness Measurement
Fatty Liver Measurement
Liver scarring (termed 'fibrosis') is the most important outcome of all liver diseases including hepatitis B and C, fatty liver, and alcoholic liver disease. Nearly all complications of liver disease, including liver failure and cancer, occur in patients with severe liver fibrosis (termed 'cirrhosis').
Liver Scan Direct offers liver scarring assessment using the FibroScan®, a non-invasive device that measures liver stiffness using Vibration-Controlled Transient Elastography (VCTE®). VCTE® involves transmission of a mechanical impulse to the liver and measurement of its speed of passage. As scarred livers are stiff, the wave travels faster in patients with liver fibrosis.
Over 300 studies have confirmed the accuracy of the FibroScan® for evaluating fibrosis compared with biopsy, which was previously the only method to assess liver scarring (see below). Results from these studies enable translation of the liver stiffness measured by FibroScan® into an estimated stage of liver fibrosis with very good accuracy. Importantly, biopsy is invasive and may cause complications including pain (1 in 5 patients), bleeding (1 in 1,000) and death (1 in 10,000). As a result of its non-invasive nature and accuracy, the FibroScan has become a standard means of assessing liver scarring in Canada (and globally), where it received Health Canada approval in 2009. Liver stiffness measured by the FibroScan® also predicts the risk of liver-related complications. In particular, many published studies have confirmed that patients with low liver stiffness values based on FibroScan® have a very low risk of developing liver-related complications, including liver failure, requiring a liver transplant, or developing liver cancer.
Liver Scan Direct offers liver stiffness measurement by FibroScan® for a fee of $140.*
* Additional charges may apply at select satellite clinics.
Fatty infiltration of the liver (termed 'steatosis') affects 20-30% of Canadians and is increasing in frequency. The major risk factors for fatty liver are overweight/obesity, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and excess alcohol intake. Some patients with fatty liver develop liver inflammation that may lead to cirrhosis. Therefore, accurate identification of patients with fatty liver and determining the quantity of liver fat is vital to initiate appropriate therapy and prevent liver complications.
Liver Scan Direct offers a tool called the Controlled Attenuation Parameter (CAP®), that measures the amount of fat within the liver. CAP® is measured at the same time as liver stiffness in the same portion of the liver. Multiple studies have confirmed the accuracy of CAP® compared with liver biopsy for both the detection of fatty liver and the quantification of fat content. Moreover, CAP® may improve following appropriate management including weight loss, improvement of diabetes and/or cholesterol control (e.g. with medications), and reduction in alcohol intake.
Liver Scan Direct provides CAP® free of charge at the time of liver stiffness measurement.