Can non-invasive medical devices help stop liver disease?
A silent epidemic of liver disease is sweeping the country and the world through an increase in chronic liver disease, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its most severe form, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can lead to advanced fibrosis and liver cancer, liver transplantation and increased risk of cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, while NAFLD is one of the most common causes of liver disease in states -United. Experts say that around 24% of US adults have NAFLD and about 1.5% to 6.5% of US adults have NASH.
Fortunately, liver disease can often be reversed with early diagnosis and intervention using medical devices called non-invasive tests (NITs) to help in the management of patients with liver disease. The most promising NIT is transient vibration-controlled elastography (VCTE) technology, including measurement of liver stiffness (LSM) by transient elastography (TE), controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) and Spleen stiffness measurement (SSM) as an additional NIT to further improve risk stratification and refine the risk of high-risk varicose veins.
Studies show that detecting and monitoring liver disease using VCTE is a non-invasive, convenient, and cost-effective way for clinicians to quantify liver tissue stiffness and estimate point-of-care liver fat.
Focus on VCTE technology
VCTE combines standardization, clinical performance and accessibility for the early identification of patients, whether in primary care, diabetes clinic or liver clinic, and for the management of patients with liver disease advanced portal hypertension and risk stratification for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
VCTE technology is essential for detecting and monitoring NAFLD / NASH, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), hepatitis C virus (including post-sustained virologic response [PSVR]), primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) / primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and autoimmune hepatitis (HAI) in at-risk populations such as patients with metabolic risk factors and / or harmful alcohol consumption . VCTE technology also offers high value for comprehensive liver health management. This is important given the prevalence and associated costs of underdiagnosed liver disease.
Prevalence and costs of liver disease
Rates of liver damage have been linked to the alarming increase in obesity among adults in the United States and around the world. In 2000, 30.5% of American adults were obese – a body mass index of 30 or higher– which increased in 2015-2016 and led to an increase in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. In 2017-2018, the obesity rate reached 42.4%—Passing 40% for the first time.
Obesity can be devastating to vital organs, causing insulin resistance which leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood and increases the amount of free fatty acids circulating in the blood and liver cells. Common in people with type 2 diabetes, the accumulation of fat in the liver increases the risk of liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death.
Liver damage is now linked to more than $ 100 billion in annual direct costs. A recent study among Medicare Advantage plans found that the annual cost of NAFLD was $ 9,062 for a new diagnosis and $ 5,363 for long-term management versus $ 4,111 per paired check-up. These costs relate to hospitalization and outpatient appointments, emergency department visits, organ transplants, medical procedures or new diagnoses, new medications or changes to existing medications and mortality.
Estimates show that 357 million people will have NASH globally by 2030. Since NAFLD and NASH are so closely linked to obesity, diabetes, and lifestyle, a preventative approach to patient engagement is needed to encourage more positive lifestyle behavior changes.
Addressing behavior change with medical devices
For many patients, diet and exercise can make all the difference. In fact, a 3% reduction in body weight has been associated with an inversion of fat in the liver, while a reduction of over seven% can resolve NASH in many patients.
The progression of liver disease is usually slow, giving patients the opportunity to be well managed by primary care physicians. This has prompted a growing number of healthcare providers to adopt VCTE tools to help stop or reverse liver damage in patients at risk.
Stakeholders could benefit from a VCTE tool that provides test results to help monitor lifestyle modification. The tool is also expected to offer consistent quantitative results to allow clinics to monitor fatty liver disease and provide feedback to patients on changes in their diet and exercise. It is also important that a VCTE tool integrates with EHRs for automatic downloading and storage of exam results to save time, secure data and improve patient follow-up.
The bottom line: As a medical device, a VCTE tool can help fight the epidemic of liver disease, adding value to a practice, improving patient satisfaction, improving outcomes and playing a role. role in creating a more sustainable health system.