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Liver scarring is currently detected only by obtaining a small tissue sample but European researchers claim that a blood test to measure the presence of four chemicals that indicate the presence of scar tissue can effectively diagnose the same condition. In the study, the blood test detected 95% of cases diagnosed by a biopsy. It is believed that up to 0.5% of the US population may have undiagnosed hepatitis C or some other viral liver disease. The risk of scar tissue (fibrosis) exists whenever a liver disease is present, whether it is caused by alcohol, a virus or liver failure. This impedes the functioning of the liver. 15% of patients with alcoholic liver disease will develop fibrosis and 25% of patients with viral disease will develop fibrosis.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by BBC News
About: Blood test may be a diagnostic alternative to liver biopsy
Date: 8 January 2005
Source: BBC News
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