The liver has an important role in our bodies – it is a vital organ which supports nearly every other organ in the body. Liver function is essential for a healthy body, as it helps to regulate toxins and chemical levels in the blood, digest food, and process nutrients, and is estimated to perform over 500 vital functions in the body. If your doctor suspects you may be having a problem with your liver, or it is not functioning as it should be, they may refer you on to a specialist called a hepatologist.
What does a hepatologist or a London Liver Specialist do?
Hepatology concerns the study of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and biliary ducts, and the management of related disorders.
How does a liver specialist differ from a gastroenterologist?
Both liver specialists (hepatologist) and gastroenterologists can diagnose and treat problems with the liver and biliary system, as they usually start from the same path. However, a hepatologist has extra training in hepatology. Thus, Professor Moore has over 25 years experience as a hepatologist looking after patients with general liver problems such as fatty liver disease, viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, PBC (primary biliary cholangitis) or alcohol related liver disease as well as a multitude of liver problems including a variety of benign liver conditions such as liver haemangioma, liver cysts, and gall bladder polyps.
What do hepatologists treat?
Hepatologists diagnose, advise and treat all manner of liver problems, including:
- Cirrhosis caused by significant scarring on the liver
- Alcohol damage to the liver and alcohol related cirrhosis
- Hepatitis (acute or chronic)
- Fatty liver disease
- Drug problems affecting the liver
- Liver cancer
- Any cause of liver disease such as autoimmune liver disease, PBC, PSC etc
- Gall bladder polyps
They also can treat other problems relating to the biliary system, including gallstones, and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
If you have a problem that you think needs to be assessed by a liver doctor but are not sure, email Professor Moore on email@example.com and he will advise.
Can I see Professor Moore without a referral if I have a liver problem?
Yes you can, but if you send me the details (and feel free to keep anonymized) I will advise you honestly.
Can I have a fibroscan?
A fibroscan is a simple test carried out in the clinic where the doctors assess the stiffness of your liver. Anyone who has chronic inflammation of the liver, be it secondary to alcohol, chronic viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease or other liver diseases may develop scarring of the liver. In the past we could only diagnose this by carrying out a liver biopsy. The fibroscan is a simple painless bedside test which involves applying a probe against the skin on your chest wall adjacent to your liver in between the ribs, and the probe literally flicks the skin overlying the liver and assesses how “wobbly” the liver is, just as if you flick a piece of jelly. A healthy liver is a wobbly liver and a normal liver stiffness is less than 6.5 kPa. The newer fibroscan machines also assess the fat content by measurement of the CAP score (normal <220 dbm).