So this was something that was discussed when I was looking at gold standard health services for alcohol patients earlier this year in this post.
Transient liver elastography is the gold standard in the assessment for liver fibrosis. Transient liver elastography directly measures liver stiffness by use of a fibroscan or a modified ultrasound machine and is predictive of liver-related events and death.
So how do we access such a thing if our GP doesn’t have one?
There are two pathways here in the UK and unsurprisingly they are NHS or private.
If you want a liver fibroscan on the NHS you would need to go to your GP, share your concerns and they would probably take bloods and if your LFT’s were raised you would be referred on for a liver scan at your local hospital.
However you can circumvent this by going private. If you have private healthcare cover you may well be able to access this as part of your annual well-being check, although I suspect not. Alternatively you can pay for it either from your private healthcare provider or if you don’t have private medical insurance you can go directly to a private hospital.
The London Clinic seemed to come up at the top of all the searches I did and this is what their blurb says:
The London Clinic is one of just a handful of hospitals in the UK that is able to offer our patients the upgraded FibroScan machine which not only measures liver stiffness but can also detect liver steatosis, known as fatty liver.
A FibroScan alone costs £325. We also offer a package that includes the scan, a set of blood tests including liver function and a consultation with a Consultant Hepatologist, for £410.
If you are referred by a doctor you may be covered by your medical insurance policy. You can be referred by your GP, or can you can contact us directly for an appointment.
I also found a company that will complete an abdominal ultrasound, which would include the liver, for £99 from http://www.ultrasound-direct.com and this service is offered country-wide or there was another company in London offering a similar service of well-women and well-man scans called http://www.privateultrasoundscanslondon.com/.
None of these are recommendations on my part they are just some of the options available if you are concerned about your liver health and would like it looked at. I would still strongly recommend consulting your GP as they know your full medical history, whereas none of these alternative options will, and that knowledge is a vital part of a full health assessment.