The pathway is designed to give GPs a quick guide to the management of hepatitis C patients on the North Coast. A brief overview and flowchart are sufficient to determine if patients would qualify and benefit from referral. To save time the pathway has a list of recommended pre-assessment blood tests.
Referral to the Lismore Liver Clinic will involve more detailed assessment of the liver. It has been using its Fibroscan for 18 months to assess the density of the liver and hence the severity of the disease. This is offered to all new patients.
In a recent talk Dr Mark Cornwell, Director of the Lismore Liver Clinic, noted that the new drug regimens, which do not include interferon, have fewer side effects, are more effective with cure rates in the high 90% range and a course of treatment can be completed in as little as 3 months for some Hepatitis C genotypes.
The talk was sponsored by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) with an unconditional grant from Gilead Pharmaceuticals. The GPs and Hepatitis C booklet from ASHM gives a comprehensive review of the topic.