Addressing Risk for Cirrhosis, Liver Failure and Liver Cancer Among America’s Veterans

October 15, 2019

WALTHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Echosens announces the release of its White Paper, Aligning with the Veterans Administration to Battle Chronic Liver Disease,” examining the impact of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and its more serious subset non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), as both a medical and economic crisis among military and civilian populations. The paper highlights the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VAs) strategy to address liver disease, including its broadened contract with Echosens to include the FibroScan 430 mini+ portable technology.

“Because high prevalence of NAFLD and NASH poses serious challenges to the VA, earlier diagnosis—and risk stratification—of patients with underlying liver conditions presents a huge opportunity to impact outcomes for patients and reduce costs for the VA system,” says Jon Gingrich, CEO, Echosens North America. “The ability for the VA to add FibroScan for examination of liver disease, wherever it’s needed, helps reduce costs and ease the burden on both physicians and patients.”

FibroScan is a painless, five-minute examination that provides scores that can be used to diagnose and monitor liver health. The VA has estimated that 78% of veterans are overweight or obese. Adding to the problem of treating NAFLD, diabetes and other related chronic conditions, 3.2 million (35%) of enrolled veterans live in rural communities and face unique barriers to care, such as lack of public transportation, a paucity of broadband coverage, long travel distances to VA health care facilities and a shortage of care providers.

The paper features alarming trends: the military has experienced a 12-fold increase in the number of active service members diagnosed with NAFLD. Service members with severe NAFLD resulting in impaired liver function are unable to perform their military duties and are disqualified from service. This once rare disorder was diagnosed in 19,069 service members between 2000 and 2017, but increased rapidly from 12.6 cases per 100,000 people in 2000 to 152.8 per 100,000 people in 2017.

“The addition of portable FibroScan systems will enable the VA to save time, money and, most importantly, help veterans with hepatitis C virus get follow-up assessments and halt the progression of NAFLD,” adds Gingrich.