After a survey with high-tech equipment in which the 174 patientsGarrahan Hospital has set up a new non-invasive study for the detection of hepatic steatosis, hepatic steatosis, in children and adolescents with risk factors.
The study allows the the measure precise of the fat in the liverfatty liver – a condition that can progress to fibrosis. Assessment, which was previously done with a biopsy or by subjectively comparing the brightness of the ultrasound against the kidney, portal vessels and diaphragm, can now be done with state-of-the-art ultrasound machines that allow assessment multiparameter in the patients con obesity and overweight.
There Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD, according to the acronym in English) is characterized by the deposition of fat in the liver and other changes, ranging from inflammation in this organ and, sometimes, the presence of fibrosis, even cirrhosis in people without history of alcohol ingestion.
Why some miners suffer from this disease? It is estimated that between 3 and 10% of children in Western countries may be affected by NAFLD and these figures are even higher in obese people.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), cases of childhood obesity and overweight have tripled over the past decade. He Overweight is today a veritable epidemic, the result of a sedentary lifestylecharacterized by the permanence of children and adolescents for very long periods in front of screens, with insufficient physical activity and the accompaniment of high calorie and unbalanced diet.
Fatty liver disease often has consequences, since increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or cirrhosis of the liver. That is why it is important to detect the disease at an early stage. Parents are advised to have their overweight children checked regularly from the age of nine.
“It is a source of pride and at the same time an enormous satisfaction to continue to innovate in non-invasive studies that improve the quality of diagnosis of children and adolescents based on the incorporation of technology and the encouragement of research,” the executive said. Garrahan’s medical director, Patricia Garcia Arrigoni.
The study to detect fatty liver disease includes B-mode, real-time ultrasound, which provides qualitative information. Second, Doppler assesses vascular structure. Subsequently, there is an attenuation coefficient measurement, ATI, which provides liver fat content values, and an elastography, which looks for fibrosis in the liver. All methods can be executed at the same time, without anesthesia or sedation and with the same equipment that is also used for all types of ultrasound.
The idea started in 2021, based on a proposal to test the method for 4 months with similar equipment as a demonstration. Then, the survey was conducted with a group of 27 patients without risk factors for steatosis and another group of 147 with risk factors (obesity, overweight, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, etc.) with convincing results and without technical failures.
“The main advantage is the precise, quantitative and reproducible measurement of the degree of steatosis, especially in the early stages, which also allows the evaluation of the treatment outcome,” said Esteban Dardanelli, head of the Garrahan Ultrasound department and specialist in diagnostic imaging. .
Previously, nutritionist Romina Pereiro explained to GlobeLiveMedia: “Hepatic steatosis is closely linked to metabolic syndrome, which is the sum of various health complications such as overweight, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, etc. If not treated in time, the liver may begin to lose the functionality of the organ and may progress to cirrhosis.
According to Pereiro, this condition “has almost no symptoms in the early stage: since it can progress silently and cause cirrhosis or liver cancer, doctors are now warning that more attention should be paid to it”.
In this tone, the experts of Mayo Clinic describes that “for some people, this excess fat acts as a toxin to liver cells, causing inflammation of the liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which can lead to buildup of scar tissue in the organ.”
In turn, from the American health center, they pointed out the following risk factors:
-High level of triglycerides in the blood
– Obesity, especially when fat is concentrated in the abdomen
-Polycystic ovary syndrome
-Sleep apnea Type 2 diabetes
– Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
-Low activity of the pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)