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New treatment in York helps people with liver disease

A new service focusing on diseases of the liver has been launched at York Hospital and is already set to double in size.

After taking almost four years to set up, the Hepatology Service has come to fruition thanks to Consultant Gastroenterologist Charles Millson, who brings this particular area of expertise to York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Millson said: “It’s an exciting new development for the Trust to be able to offer a service that concentrates on the management of diseases that affect the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas.

“We will be seeing patients with diseases of the liver including fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer as well as viral hepatitis infections. Patients will no longer have to be referred to specialist services in Leeds and Newcastle, they will be able to be treated at York and Scarborough Hospitals. We already have a waiting list of patients who are choosing to opt for our service so they don’t have to travel.”

Central to the new service is the £80,000 high tech fibroscan, a type of ultrasound that can measure the degree of inflammation in the liver. It shows the condition of the liver and allows doctors to diagnose and monitor diseases.

Dr Millson continued: “The fibroscan is a huge asset to the service as it is a quick, painless test that gives immediate results. It doesn’t have any potential complications or risks and is non-invasive so it provides an excellent alternative to liver biopsy. The result is immediate and helps us to anticipate various complications, as well as to monitor and assess the damage caused by conditions such as cirrhosis.

“As many as one in ten people have problems with the liver at some time in their life.Although alcohol abuse is one reason, in fact the causes are more wide ranging and the incidence of almost all types of liver disease is rising. In the UK liver disease is the only major cause of death still increasing year-on-year so we anticipate a busy time ahead!”

24 December 2015

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