Scan­ner to help SC liver pa­tients

South Canterbury Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - ES­THER ASHBY-COVEN­TRY

Ti­maru Hos­pi­tal will have ac­cess to a $200,000 liver fi­broscan­ner from the end of March.

The mo­bile equip­ment has been do­nated to the South Is­land by the Hep­ati­tis Foun­da­tion New Zealand.

It is ex­pected to be avail­able in South Can­ter­bury ev­ery six to eight weeks as it makes its rounds be­tween the ar­eas cov­ered by the South Is­land’s dif­fer­ent district health boards.

South Can­ter­bury District Health Board gas­troen­terol­o­gist Dr Thomas Caspritz said the fi­broscan­ner of­fered a non­in­va­sive, pain-free way to as­sess liver pa­tients. Pre­vi­ously a painful biopsy, only of­fer­ing a view of a small part of the liver, would have been re­quired.

The ul­tra­sound pro­ce­dure could be used for those with chronic Hep­ati­tis C, fi­bro­sis or cir­rho­sis.

In the past South Can­ter­bury pa­tients have had to travel all the way to Christchurch to have the 30-minute test, in­volv­ing a biopsy, done. This in­volved tak­ing a whole day off work and ar­rang­ing for trans­port to and from Christchurch, which was in­con­ve­nient and ex­pen­sive for a num­ber of pa­tients, he said.

‘‘It is very ex­cit­ing to be able to pro­vide this mod­ern di­ag­nos­tic pro­ce­dure lo­cally.

‘‘We are clearly im­prov­ing our lo­cal ser­vice pro­file, and we will save costs; for pa­tients, but also for the DHB.’’

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