It is a branch of medicine which focuses on the digestive system and its disorders. Diseases affecting the gastro-intestinal tract which includes the organs from mouth to anus along the alimentary canal are the main focus of gastroenterology.
Hepatology is the branch of medicine that incorporates the study of liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, and pancreas as well as management of their disorders. Diseases and complications related to viral hepatitis and alcohol are the main reason for seeking specialist advice. More than 2 billion people have been infected with Hepatitis B virus at some point in their life, and approximately 350 million have become persistent carriers. Up to 80% of liver cancers can be attributed to either hepatitis B or Hepatitis C virus. In terms of mortality, the former is second only to smoking among known agents causing cancer. With more widespread implementation of vaccination and strict screening before blood transfusion, lower infection rates are expected in the future.
The Liver is the vital organ of our body. The liver is necessary for survival; there is currently no way to compensate for the absence of liver function in the long term, although new liver dialysis techniques can be used in the short term. The liver supports almost every organ in the body and is vital for survival. Because of its strategic location and multidimensional functions, the liver is also prone to many diseases.
Diseases that interfere with liver function will lead to derangement of these processes. However, the liver has a great capacity to regenerate and has a large reserve capacity. In most cases, the liver only produces symptoms after extensive damage. Liver diseases may be diagnosed by liver function tests, for example, by production of acute phase proteins.
Liver transplantation is the only option for those with irreversible liver failure. Most transplants are done for chronic liver diseases leading to cirrhosis, such as chronic hepatitis C, alcoholism, autoimmune hepatitis, and many others. Less commonly, liver transplantation is done for fulminant hepatic failure, in which liver failure occurs over days to weeks.
Liver allografts for transplant usually come from donors who have died from fatal brain injury. Living donor liver transplantation is a technique in which a portion of a living person’s liver is removed and used to replace the entire liver of the recipient.
Endoscopy means looking inside and typically refers to looking inside the body for medical reasons using an endoscope, an instrument used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike most other medical imaging devices, endoscopes are inserted directly into the organ. Endoscopy can also refer to using a borescope in technical situations where direct line of-sight observation is not feasible. In gastroenterology, the treatments done through endoscopy are:
- Upper: Pharyngoscopy (Pharynx)
- Lower: Enteroscopy (Small Intestine)
- Colonoscopy (Colon)
- Capsule Endoscopy
- Accessory: Cholangioscopy