Liver Appointment at Fairfax Hospital

Yesterday, Mike and I had our scheduled appointment with the Center for Liver Diseases at Inova Fairfax Hospital to discuss a repeat liver biopsy.  As I’m sure you recall from our last post, Duke’s Dr. Berg felt that a repeat was in order, because the information obtained from the first biopsy at Duke (elevated pressures) was not consistent with the liver function tests, ultrasound, and CT results.  From our understanding, yesterday’s appointment was to be a formality, as most doctors want to meet their patients before putting them through any procedure.

As we were discussing a possible biopsy with the physician’s assistant, we learned that Dr. Younossi – vice president of research and executive director of the center – was pondering the necessity of another biopsy.  The PA explained that Fairfax wanted to obtain the slides taken from the biopsy at Duke and have their “world-renowned” pathologist and researcher read the slides to determine if they were interpreted correctly.  If the slides were read in error, then a biopsy may not need to be performed.

Dr. Younossi then met with us to answer any questions we had and to discuss what the elevated pressures in the first biopsy could possibly mean.  He stated that the elevated pressures may be due to three possible causes:  Portal hypertension (an increase in the pressure within the portal vein (the vein that carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver)), which would indicate cirrhosis; Cystic fibrosis induced liver disease (presenting with elevated pressures with no cirrhosis); or An incorrect reading of the biopsy slides. 

Obviously, we are holding out hope that the slides were read incorrectly and that a repeat biopsy will not be necessary.  At this point, however, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected, regardless of what that may be.  Unfortunately, we won’t know anything further for another 2-3 weeks and the waiting begins again.


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