Investing in the future of health care

May 25, 2021
Dr. Andrew Schreiner with patient
Dr. Andrew Schreiner (right) discusses elastography results with patient using a Fibroscan unit on loan from MUSC gastroenterologist Dr. Don Rockey.

The accomplishments of the Department of Medicine would not be possible without the dedication of outstanding faculty, the drive of stellar medical students, and the remarkable support of alumni and friends. Donor support has allowed ambitious research projects to become realized. As technology improves and our understanding of medicine grows, many opportunities continue to exist for “changing what’s possible" within the Department of Medicine’s programs and initiatives.

Delivering safe and quality care is expensive, and unfortunately there is a gap between funding and the ideal equipment, training, and research. Your donations to the MUSC Foundation can help bridge this gap.

A top priority within our Division of General Internal Medicine is to raise funds for a Fibroscan unit (vibration-controlled elastography), an ultrasound-like device that is a non-invasive, easy-to-use, and safe method of determining damage to the liver. This device replaces the need for invasive liver biopsies and is an essential tool for primary care providers to assess patients quickly, safely, and accurately, and to provide early access to treatments.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects an estimated 30% of Americans, and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, liver transplantation, and liver-related death. The burden of NAFLD has increased in-step with obesity and diabetes over the past decade, and NAFLD has emerged as a potential risk factor for heart attack and stroke.  

NAFLD is the deposition of fat in the liver, which can result in liver cell injury (fibrosis) over time. Patients with fibrosis as a result of NAFLD appear to be at highest risk of cardiovascular and liver-related complications. Identifying fibrosis in primary care can help direct efforts at cardiovascular risk prevention, and cue referrals to liver disease specialists.

Currently, Internal Medicine and principal investigator Andrew Schreiner, M.D., receives grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to improve the diagnosis of liver disease in primary care. The incorporation of vibration-controlled elastography, a non-invasive technique for assessing liver fibrosis, into this ongoing work could contribute to transformational breakthroughs in the way liver disease is diagnosed and managed in the primary care setting.

Contribute to the General Internal Medicine Research and Education Fund