Wednesday 4 March 2015

From measuring liver stiffness to stiffneckedness

Probed from the side
Please pull up your shirt, lie with your back on the bed, then have one arm down your side and the other up and folded with your lower arm under your head and hand down the middle of your back as much as you can stretch.
I was arched like this for just over 10 minutes when a cold gel was applied to my right ribcage and then a pulsing probe pressed again the gap between my ribs to take measurements, 10 of which were successful out of 14.
In another age, this would have been a more intrusive and uncomfortable invasive procedure requiring a biopsy of my liver.
Another amazing gadget
The liver is a big deal in human anatomy and it is presumed to perform close to 500 functions, its critical need within the body cannot be overestimated and yet we abuse it with excess and other vices. It is quite resilient, but it can only do so much.
My visit to the hospital was for a FibroScan, a non-invasive means of measuring liver fibrosis or stiffness. The FibroScan [Wikipedia] is new technology and extensive study indicates it is literally as good as having a liver biopsy whilst covering more area of analysis than a biopsy will offer.
In the end, the only discomfort I had was in the application of the cold gel and the stretching, I did consider having a conversation whilst being probed, but I thought the better of it.
Comfortable and comforted
The letter fixing this appointment is better worded than the original one that invited me to attend a clinic and I was not to have taken any food for at least two hours before the FibroScan. This compared to when I had an ultrasound scan of my liver to check for scarring some 19 months ago which required I had not ingested anything for almost 6 hours.
At the end of the session, I asked the nurse for a basic opinion and she said things looked good, I also asked for explanations of the readings before she wrote them down for me to conduct further research.
Within a healthy range
When I checked the kPa reading against the Liver Fibrosis card; for my condition and health, I found that I was well within the green range, which for me means, any considered deterioration in my liver function can be arrested and even reversed with the right treatment.
The kPa (kilopascal) which is 1,000 pascals is a multiple of the International Standard of Units measurement for pressure.
Before going for these tests, I was not sure of what to expect, but I am happy that on moving my treatment to another hospital, they are keen on learning things first-hand than relying on the aging reports from my other medical interventions.
Now looking forward to the next appointment. Meanwhile, you wonder if there is an instrument for measuring stiffneckedness or headstrongness.

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