Gastroenterology (Liver, Stomach and Bowel)
Gastroenterology offers a wide range of specialised services:
- inflammatory bowel diseases
- liver diseases
- pancreato-biliary medicine
- nutritional disorders
- gastrointestinal cancers
- advanced endoscopy
We have nine consultants and junior medical staff, supported by three inflammatory bowel disease nurse specialists, three nurse endoscopists, one viral hepatitis nurse specialist, substance misuse nurse and one upper gastrointestinal/hepatobiliary nurse specialist.
Our dedicated Gastroenterology Ward has 36 inpatient beds. Within this bed-base there is a four bed Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeds Unit, providing specialist care to help treat patients experiencing GI Bleeds. These beds are all located on the third floor of Arrowe Park Hospital.
Consultant led gastroenterology outpatients clinics are held each week across Arrowe Park Hospital, Clatterbridge Hospital and Victoria Central Health Centre. A comprehensive multidisciplinary upper gastrointestinaI/hepatopancreatobiliary cancer service is provided, with close links to regional centres in Liverpool.
The Endoscopy Unit receives over 12,000 referrals per year for diagnostic and therapeutic upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures. These are carried out by consultant gastroenterologists, Consultant surgeons and nurse endoscopists. The unit provides a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures, such as gastroscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), ERCP (endoscopic retrograge cholangiopancreatography), endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), medical thoracoscopy and bronchoscopy.
Our Gastro-Intestinal Service includes both colorectal/lower gastro-intestinal (LGI) and upper gastro-intestinal surgery (UGI).
We incorporate a joint medical and surgical approach to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gastro-intestinal diseases including cancer.
The UGI service is provided by four Consultant surgeons. Specialist areas include:
- Gallbladder disease
- Hernia surgery
- Anti-reflux surgery
- Achalasia surgery
- Splenic surgery
- UGI endoscopy
We specialise mainly in the care and support of people with cancer or suspected cancer of the oesophagus and stomach. We work closely with the doctors and nurses on our wards and the outpatient clinics. We are here to support you and those close to you throughout your illness by providing a point of contact for patients and carers from diagnosis onward.
Our LGI service is provided by five Consultant surgeons and one Associate Specialist, who are based at Arrowe Park Hospital (although we do carry out some clinics and surgery at Clatterbridge Hospital). They are supported by two Clinical Nurse Specialists (key workers), one Nurse Consultant, one Advanced Nurse Practitioner and three Stoma Nurses.
We can diagnose and treat a variety of colorectal problems. This includes colorectal cancer (more commonly known as bowel or colon cancer).
The team also work in the Endoscopy Unit and carry out diagnostic scopes of the bowel. Sometimes they will take samples of tissue as part of the procedure in order to diagnose your problem.
This specialty runs clinics for irritable bowel patients and patients suffering from anaemia. They also look after patients recovering from major bowel surgery who may need support with their nutrition post operatively.
What is an Endoscopy?
Upper endoscopy enables us to look inside your oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The procedure might be used to discover:
the reason for swallowing difficulties
- abdominal pain
- chest pain
Upper endoscopy is also called OGD, which stands for oesophagogastroduodenoscopy.
What happens during the procedure?
For the procedure you will swallow a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope. Right before the procedure we will spray your throat with a numbing agent that may help prevent gagging. You may also receive pain medicine and a sedative to help you relax during the exam.
The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum, so we can carefully examine the lining of these organs. The scope also blows air into the stomach; this expands the folds of tissue and makes it easier for us to examine the stomach.
We can see abnormalities, like inflammation or bleeding, through the endoscope that don't show up well on x-rays. We can also insert instruments into the scope to treat bleeding abnormalities or remove samples of tissue (biopsy) for further tests.
The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes. If you choose to be sedated, you will need to rest at the endoscopy facility for 1 to 2 hours until the medication wears off.
What preparation do i need to take before the procedure?
Your stomach and duodenum must be empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe, so you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours beforehand.
Also, you must arrange for someone to take you home — you will not be allowed to drive because of the sedatives. We may also give you other special instructions.