The Mercy University Hospital Foundation funds revolutionary FibroScan technology for non-invasive liver disease assessment at ‘The Mercy’

Technology funded by the Mercy University Hospital Foundation, which is used to assess the severity of liver disease, is now operational at Mercy University Hospital Cork.

Traditionally patients needed to have a liver biopsy to assess and tell if there was significant permanent damage in the liver, but the new FibroScan works like an ultrasound and is quick, non-invasive, and painless. The FibroScan gives a computer generated image and a readout that tells exactly what the damage to the liver is by quantifying the amount of fat in the liver, as well as identifying if the liver has scar tissue or if there is serious liver disease such as cirrhosis.

Thanks to the introduction to Mercy University Hospital, it is now possible to readily determine which patients with liver disease are at risk of complications and need to undergo regular surveillance for complications, and possibly be referred to transplant assessment. It allows medical teams at ‘The Mercy’ to reassure other patients that their liver disease is not progressing, and they can be discharged from hospital clinics to the care of their primary care physician. This will in turn free up clinic space for patients who need appointments.

Professor Martin Buckley, Gastroenterology specialist at Mercy University Hospital explained that patients with all types of liver disease will benefit from assessment by FibroScan: “By using the FibroScan we can work out if the liver disease is serious or has long term implications; or if the patient is able to avoid invasive unnecessary investigations. Only some patients with liver disease require long term monitoring and surveillance in a hospital clinic and the FibroScan is able to identify these patients.”

Obesity related liver disease is now becoming the main cause of serious liver disease in Ireland; and it is estimated that over 20% of Irish adults are obese. Professor Buckley added “Patients with obesity frequently develop fatty deposits in the liver; this can lead to severe liver disease, cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. A traditional ultrasound scan could tell if there was fat in the liver but was unable to assess the severity of the disease caused by the excess fat in the liver. FibroScan allows us to quantify the amount of fat in the liver and accurately tell if the fat is causing significant liver disease.”

For more information on the Mercy University Hospital Foundation, and the projects it funds, visit