Treatments & Therapies

Hepatologie – Behandlung, Wirkung & Risiken

Hepatology

The medical specialty of hepatology deals with the functional disorders and diseases of the liver . The term hepar is the Greek term for the organ that fulfills numerous important tasks in the metabolism , in blood formation and in the detoxification of the organism.

What is hepatology?

Hepatology is a branch of gastroenterology . Liver function cannot be viewed in isolation. It is an important factor for the healthy functioning of the digestive organs and the entire metabolism. Gastroenterology deals with the digestive system from the stomach through the liver and bile to the individual sections of the intestine .

Hepatology deals specifically with the physiology of the liver and with the diagnosis and treatment of malformations and diseases of the liver, bile and bile ducts. The liver is the largest metabolic organ. It has to produce the body’s own proteins from foreign proteins . It produces the bile and other enzymes and messenger substances for the digestive process. It utilizes food components, stores vitamins and detoxifies the organism. The liver has a particularly pronounced ability to regenerate itself.

The digestive gland weighs about 1,500 grams in an adult. The structure of the liver consists anatomically of four different lobes of the liver and functionally of eight different liver segments. The structure of the liver tissue shows up with many liver lobules. These are the actual functional tissue for controlling the glucose, fat and protein metabolism. The cells of the liver are called hepatocytes.

The digestive gland also contains the intrahepatic bile ducts, which carry bile into the gallbladder . In addition, the liver tissue is interspersed with periportal fields consisting of connective tissue . Important blood vessels run within the structure of the liver .

Treatments & Therapies

Many diseases can damage liver tissue and digestive gland function. The most common causes of liver damage are infections caused by viruses . Here the various forms of jaundice (hepatitis) should be considered.Bacteria can also cause liver infection. There are also parasites that can damage liver tissue and cause abscesses. Parasites include dog and fox tapeworm , liver flukes, and amoebas. Hepatology also includes inflammation of the liver caused by an autoimmune process. In autoimmune diseases , the immune system attacks and fights the body’s own tissues and structures.

Another area of ​​hepatology is the diseases and disorders of the bile. Acute and chronic inflammation of the gallbladder is often caused by stone formation. Alcohol abuse and the use of certain medications can lead to fatty liver and even cirrhosis . Severe inflammation and toxins damage liver tissue. The liver cells are no longer able to fulfill their extensive tasks. Liver failure occurs.

The fields of hepatology also include the diagnosis and therapy of malignant cell changes in the liver tissue. The most common causes of liver tumors are cancers of the breast, colon, prostate and other malignant tumors. In addition to the primary tumor, metastases can form anywhere in the body . The liver is particularly frequently affected by metastases. However, there are also cancers that start in the liver. These include hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatoblastoma. Carcinomas can also form in the bile ducts.

Hepatology includes metabolic disorders that are caused by the functioning of the liver. These are relatively rare diseases such as Wilson’s disease (copper storage disease), hemochromatosis (iron storage disease) and porphyria (disorder in the production of the red blood pigment). Humans cannot survive without a functioning liver. The tasks of the liver cannot be taken over by other organs. Even if the liver tissue can regenerate surprisingly well, there are cases in which this is no longer possible. Hepatology then tries to enable the patient to continue living through a liver transplant.

Diagnosis & examination methods

Hepatology has various options available to make a diagnosis and to support this with laboratory results and imaging methods. Important liver-specific laboratory values ​​can be determined in blood and urine . These include direct and indirect bilirubin and liver enzymes such as AST, ALT and GLDH. If the liver is damaged, the enzyme values ​​change and indicate inflammation. The synthesis performance of the liver can be assessed if deviations from the normal value are measurable when checking the Quick value or the proportion of the protein albumin formed in the liver.Changes in the values ​​​​of liver enzymes such as γ-GT and AP indicate an inflammatory process in the bile. The altered proportion of iron or copper in the blood is an indication of abnormal iron and copper metabolism, which is controlled by the liver. In addition to laboratory values, imaging methods such as ultrasound , computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are important examination methods for making a diagnosis.

The examination of the liver with a Fibroscan is new. The elasticity of the liver tissue is measured. If liver cirrhosis has already developed, the liver is interspersed with non-functioning connective tissue. The more advanced this process is, the harder the liver is. The examination is mainly carried out in the clinics. A liver biopsy is performed especially when there is a suspicion of malignant tissue changes. During this invasive procedure, liver tissue is removed and then examined for any cancer cells that may be present.

Typical & common liver diseases

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.