Results of ultrasound scan : Ive just... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Results of ultrasound scan

ladybird55 profile image

Ive just received my US result which says 'enlarged liver, increased in reflectivity and coarse echotexture' i have no idea what this all means been referred to a liver specialist but that could take months! Ive been a heavy drinker since my teens and I'm 55 now, i had been suffering pain in my shoulder blades and feeling generally unwell so had a blood test followed by 2 more that all came back as abnormal for liver function, i have tried to look for more info but not really found that much but i came across this forum by accident! Ive managed to hold down a full time job all these years but i drink in the evenings usually 2 bottles of wine, weekends i have spirits and i can drink a full bottle of gin or vodka in one sitting, i realise ive probably done untold damage to myself but i cant stop, i literally think about drinking all the time, ridiculous isnt it! Sorry for the long message but just need some advice and what US results are all about

Many thanks

4 Replies

Obviously can't diagnose by Internet but it sounds like your liver is very very poorly.Your certainly in the very high risk group for cirrhosis.

It's VERY likely the liver specialist will confirm that you have cirrhosis.

As for not being able to give up drink you do have a choice and I won't sugar coat it.

You will probably die quite soon and have a horrible death if you don't quit!

Talk to your Dr about your drinking and be honest.

Ask for help and you will get it.

Self refer to CGL (change grow live) or Addaction.

Try AA if that suits you.

Look up drug and alcohol addiction services in your area.

You need to act now and not wait for cirrhosis to be confirmed.

As I assume you've already worked out your ultrasound report is clearly saying that there are changes in your liver compared to what one would expect to see when viewing a healthy liver (which is normally seen as smooth and uniform in appearance with no increased echogenity). You obviously need to connect with your Drs about what these changes mean for you.

Increased echogenity (seen as bright areas on a liver ultrasound) and the coarsening of a liver's appearance are normally signs of fatty infiltration or indeed fibrosis. Your report also says your liver is enlarged. Livers are sometimes enlarged because of fatty and fibrotic material sitting in them and/or because they're inflamed.

Only your Dr's know whether this is what's going on with your liver... my comments are generalisations. In fact your Dr's may want to do further tests before they draw any conclusions. A fibroscan is often recommended as a good test to accompany an image based test like an ultrasound. A fibroscan is similar to an ultrasound but it 'feels' the liver and is a good way to assess the amount of fat inside the liver and how stiff a liver is (fibrosis makes a liver feel stiff, a healthy liver is soft and spongy)

You've been very honest about the significant amount of alcohol you're still regularly consuming - possibly somewhere between 120 and 150+ units weekly. If you are thinking about drinking all the time then it really has hold of you and you may need support to stop.

You do need to stop.

There is no judgement here. If you continue consuming alcohol at this level and on a daily basis you may be in for a miserable future. The good news is that many abused livers prove to be redeemable, robust organs. And the owners of those livers are themselves always redeemable as people.

Hopefully the stories you read on this forum will motivate you to make some changes.

As well some tragic, cautionary tales, you will find many more inspirational ones that embody the benefits of a liver friendly life, free of addiction, unpleasant physical symptoms and equally unpleasant anxiety.

Trust1 profile image
Trust1Partner

Welcome,

No one is medically trained to interpret your scan results. We would suggest that you consider speaking to your GP as soon as possible and having an open and honest conversation about your alcohol history and scan results so they can advise you.

You may find our publications ‘Liver disease tests explained’ and ‘Alcohol and liver disease’ useful to read prior to your appointment. Here are the links;

britishlivertrust.org.uk/in...

britishlivertrust.org.uk/wp...

If you are, or have ever been, alcohol dependent discuss this with your doctor. In these circumstances it is important to get medical help to give up drinking, as stopping suddenly can, in some cases, lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations and seizures. There are many sources of support and help they can give you or direct you to.

Keep posting on the forum, you are not alone and have taken the first step to getting help.

Echotexture and echogenicity are two different things and they tell you two different things about your liver. Echotexture pretty much sounds like what it is. It's a description of the surface of your liver. On the ultrasound, your echotexture can be seen as smooth or as rough. A normal, healthy liver is smooth and therefore will be described as homogenous. A liver that is not normal is sometimes describe as "heretrogeneous". That typcially implies that the ultrasound is picking up on little or big nodules, so the liver appears "coarse". That type of surface is associated with cirrhhosis.

The liver can also either appear dull or bright. This quality is the "echogenicity" of your liver. One way to think of it is whether light is echoing back.

A normal liver is dull. A bright liver means that light is reflecting back strongly, so it is called "highly echogeneous". This type of brightness is associated with fat on the surface of the liver, since fat reflects light back more strongly than a normal surface. Fat is not really supposed to be on the surface of the liver. A normal liver will have just a hint of fat or none detectable. So if you liver is described as bright, then you have too much fat on your liver. This doesn't mean that the fat is causing the damage. If the fat causes inflammation, that can lead to damage and then to cirrhosis.

I'm not a doctor specializing in radiology or ultrasound but you can probably guess that I've seen plenty of ultrasounds. Still, you need to have follow up discussions with your doctor, who afterall has spent years analyzing ultrasounds. The reason this is advisable is that ultrasound interpretation is not a cut-and-dry science. It's not math. Different doctors can look at the same ultrasound and reach differemt conclusions.

My guess is that your liver has been damaged in some way. It could be cirrhosis. But that's not the end of the story, if, IF, you stop drinking.

As for the fat, that's caused by too many carbohydrates or fats. Carbohydrates are converted by the liver into energy for the rest of the body. Excess of carbohydrates or fat can end up overwhelming the liver's capacity to process them, so it just gives up and the fat ends up not being sent out to help the rest of the body, but is left on the liver.

If you stop injuring the liver, it will try to repair itself. Think about that. You have one second chance.

I have heard thar in the US there is an injection that can be given to alcoholics that stops the urge to drink. I saw a woman blog about it recently. It's a terrific scientific advance and if I were you, I'd look into it and take it.

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