A simple Test costing £50 could help prevent alcohol-related deaths.
A simple ‘traffic light’ test that detects hidden liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in high-risk populations could reduce harmful drinking rates and potentially prevent hundreds of alcohol related deaths a year.
The test, devised by Dr Nick Sheron and colleagues at the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital, costs around £50 and could be used by GPs in the community.
The Southampton Traffic Light Test (STL) appeared to help reduce drinking rates in people with the highest risk of liver disease according to the results of a study published in the October 2013 issue of the British Journal of General Practice.
The STL test combines several different tests and clinical markers which are given a score that indicates the patient’s likelihood of developing liver fibrosis and liver cirrhosis.
The result comes in three colours: red means that the patient probably has liver scarring (fibrosis) and may even have cirrhosis, green means that there is no cirrhosis and the patient is highly unlikely to die from liver disease over the next five years. Amber means there is at least a 50:50 chance of scarring and patients are advised to reduce or avoid drinking to avert further disease progression.
The STL test was used on 393 heavy drinkers at their GP practice, 65% of the harmful drinkers with a red or amber result reduced to a non harmful amount, nearly twice that as those with a green STL result.
Simon Stephens Director of Casework at Addictions UK said, “This simple test can save lives; often by the time people understand they have liver damage it is too late. This clear message can encourage people to change their behaviour.”
Read an article on this in MedicalXpress
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