Reena Gupta (name changed) underwent treatment for a ‘fatty liver’ in the US for more than two years before discovering the diagnosis was incorrect.
The non-resident Indian recently underwent a Fibroscan screening at Lady Ratan Tata Centre, Nariman Point, and discovered that she had a cirrhotic liver. Dr N.H. Banka, chief gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Bombay Hospital, who screened Gupta, said many other liver patients in the city were wrongly diagnosed.
“A liver patient usually does not realise that there is something wrong with his or her liver until it has suffered 70 to 75 per cent damage. To understand the extent of damage, we usually need to do a biopsy which patients are often not ready for, as it is a painful process,” he said.
Banka said the Firbroscan technology used to screen Gupta is gaining popularity among medical practitioners as a substitute to a biopsy in determining liver damage.
“A liver function test or a sonography may not always reveal cirrhosis in the liver as the liver may still manage to carry out its functions. This new technology is non-invasive and highly accurate in detecting liver damage,” he said.
Dr Aabha Nagral, liver specialist at Jaslok and Fortis hospitals, said Fibroscans were only recommended in special cases. “Not every person who has a fatty liver suffers from cirrhosis. At times, the liver manages to heal enough to continue its functions and this makes it hard to detect cirrhosis,” said Nagral.
“One who cannot undergo a biopsy, like someone who has a risk of excessive bleeding, is usually asked to go in for a Fibroscan,” said Nagral.