Millions of Americans have hepatitis, a disease which causes inflammation in the liver. To keep track of the inflammation, many patients need regular biopsies. But now, a new device is in clinical trial. It uses ultrasound, instead of a needle as a non-invasive way to check the liver.
Dr. Bruce Bacon says, "We need to know who is progressing and who is not, because we make decisions about who should or shouldn't be treated, and how vigorously they should be treated. With FibroScan, we can measure the amount of scar tissue, or the amount of damage to the liver, without any needles."
Patient Claudette Clarks says, "You don't have to worry about being stuck, no injections. Just like coming in, and laying on a bed and they look at an ultrasound."
The FibroScan emits a vibration that's tracked by the machine. The faster the wave travels, the harder and more scarred the tissue is. The device is currently being studied with hepatitis b and c patients.
However, Dr. Bacon says if the device proves to be as accurate as a liver biopsy, it could also be used to check the condition of patients with other liver diseases as well.