News and Notices

Technology to the rescue for hepatitis C sufferers

People with hepatitis C across the top of the south will benefit from a new mobile FibroScan machine used to measure the health of their livers.

The scanner, purchased with funds donated by the Care Foundation, provides a picture of the liver using transient elastography. It is non-invasive, painless and is able to give instant results. This allows the operator to measure scarring and estimate the overall health of the liver. This, in turn, informs treatment options for people with Hepatitis C.

Addictions nurse Belinda (Blin) Heaphy has recently taken up a district-wide job with Marlborough Primary Health Organisation working with people with hepatitis C in the community. She will travel with the mobile scanner to test people across the region.

belinda heaphy fibroscanner350Blin says that the new treatment currently available for some types of hepatitis C has a 95 per cent cure rate with only three months of treatment and minimal side effects. She hopes that if more people are tested with the scanner, clearing their eligibility for treatment, then more people will be cured of the disease.

Photo: Addictions nurse/PHO community hepatitis C nurse Belinda Heaphy demonstrating how the new fibro-scanner works on Nelson Marlborough Health nurse Carole Mitchell