September 25, 2015
1 min read

NICE recommends software to diagnose, monitor liver fibrosis

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has released a guidance supporting the use of Virtual Touch Quantification in people with chronic hepatitis B or C virus infection who need liver fibrosis assessment, according to a press release.

Virtual Touch Quantification (VTq; Siemens Healthcare Global) “is a software application that assesses the stiffness of the liver based on readings of a high intensity ultrasound wave which is transmitted through the liver,” according to the release. “The device measures the speed of the sound waves to determine the condition of the liver tissue and allows the liver to be imaged at the same time.”

The guidance, developed by the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee and available on the NICE website, states that VTq should be considered an option for assessing liver fibrosis in people with chronic HBV or HCV. The guidance also states that VTq is as accurate as transient elastography in diagnosing and staging liver fibrosis, and may offer other benefits in terms of imaging the liver and sampling selected areas. Additional benefits include a possibly painless and safer alternative to liver biopsy and reduced costs, according to the release.

“As well as meaning that people with chronic hepatitis B or C could avoid having invasive liver biopsies, the associated savings of more than £400 per person could result in significant savings in hospitals where liver biopsy is the primary method for diagnosing and monitoring liver fibrosis,” Carole Longson, director of the NICE center for health technology evaluation, said in the release.

Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, stated in the release: “VTq is an invaluable addition to making diagnosis and ongoing monitoring as easy and patient centered as possible, so it’s good that the NICE guidance encourages its use.”

Disclosures: was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures of Longson and Langford at the time of publication.