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RD&E hepatology team receive new scanner to help in the diagnosis of liver disease


Patients at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital can now access a quick and pain-free scan to help diagnose liver disease thanks to a donation from the League of Friends and support from the Exeter Liver Patients Group. 


The RD&E’s Hepatology team have just received a new Fibroscan, a machine which uses ultrasound based technology to assess fibrosis (scarring) of the liver. The quick and painless scan can be performed by a consultant or specialist nurse, reducing the need for more invasive procedures such as a liver biopsy.  


The new scanner means that RD&E patients will no-longer have to travel to neighbouring hospitals such as Torbay or Derriford to receive the test. As the scanner is portable, it can also be used in community clinics, ensuring vulnerable groups of liver patients will have improved access to health care.


After many years of trying to secure funding the Department of Hepatology has been able to purchase the Fibroscan thanks to a generous donation from the RD&E’s League of Friends


On behalf of the liver team, Hepatology Nurse Specialist Laura Strang said: “We are absolutely thrilled. By having the Fibroscan we can improve the patient experience through safer and closer monitoring of liver disease progression and response to treatment. We are so grateful to the League of Friends and the Exeter Liver Patients Group for all their support in enabling us to secure this crucial equipment that will enhance the care we give to our liver patients.”


Kate Caldwell, Treasurer from the RD&E League of Friends, commented: “We were delighted to support this as the scanner is less invasive and stops patients from having to travel further afield. This machine will improve patient experience which is exactly what the League of Friends is all about”.


Jim Baker, Exeter Liver Patient Support Group Group Coordinator, added: “The acquisition of the new Fibroscanner is great news for patients. The main advantage will be faster diagnosis, avoiding a biopsy or a trip to another hospital and further appointments. This is not just more convenient and less worrying for patients. Faster diagnosis means treatment can start earlier and ultimately, lives can be saved. We are extremely grateful to the League of Friends for their continued support and to the staff of the Hepatology Department for their tireless campaign over many years to procure this essential equipment.”

The Hepatology Team is currently receiving training in the use of the Fibroscan, with the aim of them being fully operational by December.

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