The Overlook Vascular Lab is currently the only Atlantic Health System facility that performs a unique, two-part test for fatty liver disease and fibrosis.
Fatty liver disease also known as hepatic steatosis, develops when fat builds up in the liver. When too many fat molecules accumulate inside liver cells, liver function becomes impaired.
About 100 million individuals in the United States are estimated to have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Factors that contribute include obesity, diabetes with insulin resistance, hepatitis C, high cholesterol levels and alcohol abuse. Fatty liver disease can occur without symptoms, especially in its early stages. However, if it’s diagnosed early, physicians can treat patients before the liver is adversely affected. Therefore it’s important to be aware of the risk factors in order to rule out fatty liver disease before it becomes a problem.
Atlantic Health System uses a cutting edge imaging test that checks for fibrosis, a condition that causes scarring in the liver:
- Elastography: Also called Fibroscan, is a stiffness-based assessment for liver fibrosis. It uses ultrasound to produce and record 2-D shear waves in the liver’s tissue. Measuring these waves gives us information about the health of the liver. This procedure is especially effective in diagnosing early stages of disease, and in many cases can eliminate the need for a biopsy.
- Portal Abdominal Duplex: Another form of ultrasound scanning, gives us information about the health of the blood flow in and around the liver, as well as the surrounding tissues and vessels. This two-part exam gives the physician comprehensive information on the health of the liver. Once a baseline exam is performed, future exams can monitor changes.