I was diagnosed with HepC in March 1998 with a viral count load in the mid-range. I probably contracted HepC during a blood transfusion in 1974 or 1985. My liver function tests, up till now, have fallen in the normal range. The symptoms I experience are fatigue and some upper quadrant abdominal pain. I take the blood thinner Coumadin for a replaced Mitral Valve, so the Doctors' are advising me to put off having a liver biopsy. I understand their concerns about bleeding but still worry about the presence of cirrhosis.
My questions: I have recently read in the local paper about a Doctor who performs liver biopsy using laparoscopic techniques. Would this be a safer method of biopsy for me? Wouldn't the Doctor still have to cut out a piece of my liver to examine? Would the presence of cirrhosis eventually be detected by a change in liver function tests?
Thank you in advance.
No matter what technique (laparoscopic, standard percutaneous approach or CT or ultrasound guided) is used to obtain a liver biopsy (tissue sample), bleeding can occur. Patients on anticoagulants should not have a liver biopsy prior to discontinuation of the drug before the procedure. This has implications in terms of your artificial mitral valve. Chronic hepatitis C viral infection is a slow process. About 20-30% of patients with hepatitis C develop cirrhosis after 20 years of having the infection. Most patients with cirrhosis will have liver function test abnormalities, but the only way to be sure that cirrhosis is present is to perform a liver biopsy. The next question that needs to be answered is what will you do with the information after you have a liver biopsy? Are you considering treatment with interferon? If not, what is the point of have an invasive procedure with potential risks and complications? I hope you find this information helpful.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you would like to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568 our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Moonka, one of our expert Hepatologists.
*Keywords: hepatitis C viral infection, cirrhosis, liver biopsy
Copyright 1994-2018MedHelp.All rights reserved. MedHelp is a division of Vitals Consumer Services, LLC.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. MedHelp is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.