Davao hospital launches new Fibroscan touch in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 March) – The Davao Doctors Hospital has strengthened its position as the premiere hospital here after it unveiled on Friday the latest P9-million Fibroscan touch, the first and only one of its kind in Mindanao, that will revolutionize the “diagnosis and management” of liver disease.

Dr. Marilyn Arguillas, head of the Clinical Head of Endoscopy Unit and Liver Center at the DDH, said in a press conference that the new medical equipment is capable of assessing the severity of liver cirrhosis, which develops after chronic liver scarring or fibrosis in medical parlance, and the amount of fat in the liver.

“Our Fibroscan can detect fatty liver, can detect if the scarring starts to develop on the way to cirrhosis. The journey starts from fatty liver disease, or chronic hepatitis B or C, or from alcoholic liver disease. That journey takes you to the road of cirrhosis,” she said.

The hospital also launched in 2012 a similar but older Fibroscan but lacked the capability of determining the amount of liver fat, she said.

Arguillas said the new Fibroscan is equipped with a Controlled Attenuation Parameter, a tool for “non-invasive assessment and accumulation of fat in the liver.”

Unlike the invasive biopsy with a 0.001 percent risk of patient mortality, she said the examination could be repeated to monitor the patient’s liver without side effects.

The fatty liver, which develops with sedentary lifestyle, is classified into two types – alcoholic fatty liver and non-alcoholic fatty liver.

The non-alcoholic fatty liver, she said, is now more common with the growing popularity of fast-food chains.

She said non-alcoholic fatty liver is common among patients with diabetes, overweight/ obese, high cholesterol diet, and metabolic syndrome.

“The fatty liver is called the epidemic of new millennium. Now, it is the most chronic liver disease in the world,” she said. “(At least) 70 to 90 percent of diabetics have fatty liver. Patients who are obese have fatty liver, and our children because of our lifestyle.”

She said an inflamed fatty liver could cause liver cirrhosis, a precursor of liver cancer, which can be detected at the early onset with the Fibroscan equipment.

Citing a nationwide study conducted by the National Food Research Institute in 2004, she said liver disease affects 16.7 percent of Filipinos aged 18 years old and above.

“Why? There is also a epidemic of obesity, an epidemic of diabetes, and an epidemic of metabolic syndrome plus all the lifestyle. We develop fatty liver because of our lifestyle – the western lifestyle, or what they called the American Lifestyle Induced Obesity Syndrome (ALIOS),” she said.

She said kids who do not engage in physical activities and spend much of their time on computer games are more likely to develop a fatty liver.

“When you have obese children, you develop obese adults – men and women. Unfortunately, when you are obese adults, you also grow into, if you are lucky and you don’t die of heart attack, you also grow into obese elderly people.

“This is the problem that the Philippines will face. It’s not only drug war, killing, it’s this. Because the burden to the health care is terrible and I don’t think we can take care of this plus the Emerging epidemic of HIV (human immodeficiency virus), it will overburden the Philippine heath care system,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)