Image: A new scanner combines shear waves and ultrasound to quantify liver disease (Photo courtesy of Echosens).
An innovative liver scanner uses a combination of shear waves and ultrasound to quantify liver fibrosis and steatosis.
The Echosens (Paris, France) FibroScan 630 Expert is a non-invasive device that can provide reproducible, accurate assessment of chronic liver diseases, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The FibroScan 630 Expert features a high performance elastography engine, improved ergonomics, an embedded ultrasound guidance system, an intuitive user interface, touchscreen, and advanced keyboard, and an integrated barcode reader.
The technology is based on proprietary vibration-controlled transient elastography (VCTE), which allows for measurement of tissue stiffness as expressed in kilopascal (kPa) by controlling vibration frequency, energy intensity, and applied force using a standardized algorithm to ensure that the shear wave, which is the ultimate source of stiffness information, is properly induced in the medium. Ultrasound attenuation is measured by CAP, which corresponds to the decrease in amplitude of ultrasound waves as they propagate through the liver.
NAFLD is related to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome and may respond to treatments originally developed for other insulin-resistant states (e.g. diabetes mellitus type 2) such as weight loss, metformin and thiazolidinediones. For most people, it causes no signs, symptoms, or complications, but in some cases accumulated fat can cause inflammation and scarring in the liver, called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a major cause of cirrhosis of the liver of unknown cause.