30 March 2022

Liver scanner comes to Southampton

A SPECIALIST ultrasound probe that can help determine if a child is showing the first signs of liver disease is being used at Southampton Children’s Hospital, thanks to the fundraising efforts of a Hampshire family. 

The FibroScan ultrasound, which costs £9,750, allows doctors to gauge the health of a liver by testing for scarring.

Although the equipment is used in the adult department of University Hospital Southampton, a much smaller probe was required to enable the tests to be carried out on children.

Not having the equipment meant that young patients would either need to travel to London for the procedure or undergo an invasive biopsy.

Now the probe has been purchased and is being used by the team at SCH, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Dana Fry and her family, working with Southampton Hospitals Charity.

Dana’s daughter Mylah, was born with a rare liver disease and was a regular inpatient at Southampton Children’s Hospital, before she sadly passed away aged 18 months, in 2018.

Dana, 27, said “Dr Nadeem Afzel and his team were just amazing throughout Mylah’s short life, so this is our way of giving something back and helping other children with liver disease.”

Dr Mark Wright, Consultant Hepatologist and Gastroenterologist at University Hospital Southampton, said “The arrival of the probe not only saves time for our patients but, because of its non-invasive nature, also eliminates the stress of a stay in hospital.

“Before we started using the FibroScan here, children would either travel to Kings London Hospital or undergo a biopsy, which would require a general anaesthetic at Southampton Children’s Hospital. It really will make such a big difference.”

One of the first patients to use the new FibroScan probe was Eden Mold, seven, from Sway in the New Forest. Mum Katie, 39, said “Travel to Kings London Hospital is a full day out and incredibly stressful, especially for a child with special needs. This will make a huge difference to our family, not just in terms of time but in the cost of travel too”

Southampton Children’s Hospital is one of the busiest outreach clinics from Kings London Hospital, seeing over 250 children annually with liver conditions. Patients are referred from 11 hospitals across the Wessex region, covering four local counties.

Dr Nadeem Afzal, Consultant in Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition said “I’m really excited that, for the first time in Southampton, we can now provide this service in our local paediatric liver clinics.

“I want to say a special thank-you to Dana Fry for her wonderful donation to Southampton Hospitals Charity, and for her fundraising. Her daughter Mylah’s legacy will help hundreds of other children living with liver conditions.”

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