Scanner to help SC liver patients
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.’’