September 2, 2008

New Technique Created to ID Liver Disease

A Chinese-led study has found non-invasive transient elastography can measure liver stiffness, accurately diagnosing patients with late-stage liver disease.

The researchers, led by Dr. Henry Chan of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, said liver biopsy has long been the gold standard for assessing liver disease. However, it is limited by invasiveness, risk of complications, patient discomfort and the availability of expertise.

On the other hand, the researchers said liver stiffness measurement, or LSM, has been shown to be a reliable tool to detect liver cirrhosis, and transient elastography is a rapid, non-invasive and reproducible new technique being employed to measure liver stiffness.

"Research has shown that LSM has the potential to become a non-invasive way to diagnose severe liver disease," Chan said. "We wanted to take a closer look at its potential, evaluating its accuracy in relation to traditional biopsy. Comparing the results of transient elastography with biopsy reports enables us to determine just how precise this technique can be."

The study is reported in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.