GP surgery scanning set to aid early diagnosis of liver disease

Patients at risk of liver disease may soon be assessed at their doctor’s surgery in Stamford thanks to the latest scanning technology delivered last month.

Cirrhosis is the third leading cause of premature death in the UK, but often symptoms are difficult to spot and are not diagnosed until a late stage, when treatment options are limited. Due to the rise in alcohol misuse, obesity and type 2 diabetes, alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are the most common causes of liver disease.

Using a Fibroscan machine at Lakeside Healthcare surgery, doctors can detect the presence of liver damage early by checking for scarring, which can lead to cirrhosis. The scanner is able to detect the extent of any scarring, enabling the GP to decide if the patient should be referred to a hospital specialist.

Eastern AHSN is partnering with the East Midlands AHSN in the project, which aims to reduce the numbers of people being referred for hospital scans, cut waiting times and generally improve the patient experience. By the end of March, around 100 patients at the surgery will have been screened.

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