Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands - (Page 49)
GASTROENTEROLOGY – DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
DR JOHN WONG MBBCh, MD, FRCP graduated in the UK in 1993 and trained in the West
Midlands. He is now a consultant liver specialist and gastroenterologist at University Hospital Coventry.
He has a special interest in liver disease, performing interventional endoscopies and liver FibroScan.
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There are several ways to investigate
possible liver trouble. Liver function
tests (LFTs) are some of the most
common ‘routine’ blood tests
carried out. These tests examine
your liver enzymes (or proteins),
and any abnormality can offer a
clue to underlying liver problems.
Similarly, an abdominal ultrasound
scan is often performed for a
number of abdominal complaints.
For patients with acute liver disease, severe
disturbances on LFTs will indicate overwhelming
liver cell damage, resulting in symptoms such as
jaundice (yellow eyes and skin). In chronic liver
diseases, however, LFT abnormalities may be
mild and the symptoms may not appear until
the liver becomes damaged to the point of
cirrhosis (scarring) or liver failure.
A liver ultrasound showing any irregularity
may sound worrying, but it doesn’t always offer
a diagnosis or indicate a specific liver disease.
Abnormal liver test results
The most common causes of abnormal LFTs
include alcohol abuse and fatty liver disease.
Chronic viral infections such as hepatitis B or C
also need to be considered.
Abnormal LFTs may not indicate a primary
liver problem. They may also be due to a
condition where the liver is one of several
organs affected. If you have bowel issues, these
may be relevant. For instance, coeliac disease
(gluten allergy) can cause LFT abnormalities.
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Liver problems are also closely associated
with those of the bile duct system. Liver test
abnormalities may be due to a cancer that is
causing congestion in the small bile channels
within the liver, or gallstones causing a blockage
in the main bile duct.
A patient's medical history may suggest a cause
for abnormal test results. For instance, a recent
new medication may be to blame. This could
be discontinued and follow-up tests performed
to monitor the effect on the liver.
Similarly, lifestyle changes such as cutting
down on alcohol that lead to improved LFTs
indicate that alcohol abuse may be an issue.
Further imaging tests such as CT scans or
liver MRIs, and sometimes a liver biopsy (taking
a liver sample), may be needed. When a
problem with the large bile duct is suspected,
a specialised endoscopy (tube) test or
endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) can be helpful.
Visit www.endoscopyplus.co.uk or
contact Dr John Wong at the following
hospitals: BMI The Meriden Hospital,
Coventry, call Jacqueline Wright (secretary)
on 02476 647065 or email jwright@
For Nuffield Health
Leamington Spa, call
Anna Potts (secretary)
on 01926 436359 or
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands
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Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands