Cirrhosis of the liver Pediatric Research and Clinical Trials

Right now, the only way doctors can be sure of how much fibrosis (scar tissue) is in your child’s liver is from a liver biopsy. Although many liver biopsies are performed at Boston Children’s Hospital each year, this is considered an invasive procedure. That means it is associated with some risk, often requires sedation or anesthesia, may cause some discomfort, and is somewhat expensive.

Physicians in the Center for Childhood Liver Disease at Boston Children’s are conducting research into other ways of finding out if your child has cirrhosis or how much scar tissue is present in your child’s liver. They are using a combination of special research blood tests and a technology called transient elastography to assess the severity of liver scarring. 

The elastography is done with a machine called a FibroScan (Echosens, Paris, France), which uses ultrasound technology to measure the stiffness of the liver. This is a quick, easy, and painless exam. If the research shows that these tests work, your child and others will need fewer liver biopsies in the future!