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Endoscopy and hep c

Posted by Jane on June 14, 1999 at 23:00:37
My friend is in end stage liver, he is having currently severe abdominal pains mostly left sided and occasional right side. Gall bladder was ruled out. They now  want to do an endoscopy. He has been advised of the risks (low platelet count, PT 15.3 etc etc). He is wondering what is the point of this test and would it outweigh the risks? There has been no bleeding although they say they can check for varices.
Thank you

Posted by HFHSM.D.-D.M. on June 27, 1999 at 15:44:45

Dear Jane:
I appreciate your questions and your concerns about your friend.  I can imagine that you and your friend are under a fair level of stress knowing that he has advanced liver from hepatitis C.  I would certainly stress that patients with advanced liver disease are certainly candidates for liver transplant and that hepatitis C is the leading indication for hepatitis C in the US and in the world.      
I can't comment on why your physicians want to proceed with endoscopy on your friend.  You'll probably want to ask them that.  However, as a general rule endoscopy should be safe in your friend provided he has no major heart and lung problems and provided the endoscopist is experienced.  If the endoscopist wishes to biopsy something, she/he will have to consider the increased possibility of bleeding.
I do agree that endoscopy is very good at identifying esophageal varies and if they are present we often use a medication called beta-blockers to prevent them from bleeding even if they haven't bled before..
I hope this information is helpful to you and I wish your friend the best of luck.  Again, it sounds like he might want a consultation with a liver transplant center.  If you have additional information or questions, please post the material to MEDHELP or to contact us directly at Henry Ford (313) 916-8865.  We have an active group of liver specialists.

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