Hepatology (liver disease)

Hepatology is a subspecialty of gastroenterology concerned with the study, prevention, diagnosis and management of diseases that affect the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas. The term hepatology is derived from the Greek words “hepatikos” and “logia,” which mean liver and study, respectively.

Hepatology is quickly emerging as a freestanding speciality. As a critical organ that can be affected by a large number of factors, the liver is usually the focal point in hepatology.

For example, hepatitis (=inflammation of the liver, independently of its cause) affects millions of individuals globally and is associated with several poor outcomes including liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and transplant. In particular, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, chronic alcohol abuse and steatohepatitis (inflammation caused by fatty liver) are major causes of liver cancer, liver cirrhosis and other serious complications. It is our aim to prevent and treat acute and chronic liver disorders.

Some of the most common ailments that are assessed, diagnosed and managed by our hepatologist and gastroenterologist include:

  • Diseases of the liver related to excess alcohol consumption, including fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
  • Viral hepatitis infections (hepatitis A, B, C).
  • Jaundice
  • Screening and treatment of portal hypertension (e.g. esophageal varices) linked to chronic liver injury
  • Enzyme defects causing liver enlargement in children, also known of as liver storage diseases
  • Some tropical infections
  • Liver cancer
  • Genetic and metabolic liver disease
  • Pancreatitis, usually when caused by alcohol consumption or gallstones

We are proud that at Coastal Digestive Health we have two world class hepatologists who are able to look after patients with complex liver problems from early childhood through to adulthood. This includes the management of these complex disorders in the difficult and challenging transition time of the teenage years into adulthood.