May 13, 2021
According to the CDC, 1.4 million adults are diagnosed each year with liver disease. One of the challenges with liver diseases is that they can go undetected for years. While some people with liver problems have symptoms of end-stage liver disease like yellowing of the skin, or jaundice, many others have either no symptoms or symptoms such as fatigue that could suggest several other conditions. These known liver diseases often evade routine detection and their diagnosis depends on improved screening and awareness.
Hackensack Meridian Ocean Medical Center is now offering Elastography, an innovative medical imaging ultrasound that enables radiologists to determine the presence or status of fibrosis and cirrhosis. Elastography can detect liver fibrosis earlier than other imaging tests so that physicians can address it before it becomes cirrhosis, which is not reversible, and diagnose liver cancer and liver failure. Many people with fibrosis don’t have symptoms and left untreated, fibrosis will scar the liver and eventually turn into cirrhosis.
“This new imaging technology provides hope for patients at risk for liver disease,” says Faisal M. Shah, board-certified diagnostic radiologist at Ocean Medical Center. “It has been shown that liver elastography can predict the progression of liver fibrosis and can help to improve the survival of patients with chronic liver diseases.”
Cirrhosis reduces blood flow to the liver, a condition called portal hypertension. This can result in an enlarged spleen, ascites and severe gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding from dilated blood vessels that can rupture. Once a liver reaches a stage of cirrhosis, the damage is irreversible, and advanced stages can be fatal.
“I am thrilled that we can now offer Ultrasound Elastography at our Imaging Center so patients can benefit from early detection,” says Jason Kreitner, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive. “As we continue to expand our imaging services at Ocean Medical Center, this innovative technology will help patients get early treatment so we can help to improve their health and achieve the best outcomes for each patient.”
Risk factors of liver disease include heavy alcohol use, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis, tattoos or body piercings, injecting drugs with shared needs, blood transfusion before 1992, exposure to other people’s blood and body fluids and unprotected sex.
See your doctor for a referral or, to make an appointment, please call 732-836-4025.