This report summarizes an AASLD Clinical Workshop that was presented at Digestive Diseases Week 2003 on screening in liver diseases. As newer diagnostic tests become available, many liver diseases and complications of liver disease can be detected at an early asymptomatic stage. In many cases, early detection can lead to earlier treatment and an improved outcome. However, screening for liver diseases in asymptomatic persons has the potential for adverse consequences, including discrimination and stigmatization. The cost of screening programs is significant, and access to screening tests varies in different countries. Future screening programs require careful planning and implementation to balance the benefits, risks, and cost-effectiveness. This review outlines the concepts of screening and their application to a broad range of liver deseases.
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