The North East’s regional liver medicine and liver transplantation service is based at the Freeman Hospital.
Newcastle’s liver unit offers a comprehensive (full level 3) hepatology service for patients living all over the North East of England. This includes a well established liver transplant service.
What is hepatology?
Hepatology is a medical specialty which focuses on investigating and treating conditions affecting the liver and biliary tree (gallbladder and bile ducts).
Liver experts called hepatologists treat diseases such as:
- viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C)
- cirrhosis (due to a wide range of conditions such as non-alcohol related fatty liver disease and alcohol-related liver disease)
- autoimmune liver disease
- liver cancer
- portal hypertension
- inherited liver disease
They also look after patients before and after liver transplant surgery.
Who is the hepatology service for?
Our liver specialists see patients from as far afield as Cumbria and North Yorkshire. You can be referred to our service by your GP, local hospital doctor or another healthcare professional such as a midwife, or key worker from a drug and alcohol service.
There are many different types of liver disease. Liver disease can result from drinking too much alcohol or being overweight, can be due to a virus or run in the family (hereditary).
Patients are referred to us with all types of liver disease, for assessment and management of their condition. We also see people from across the region who are being considered for a liver transplant.
What does the hepatology service do?
We offer a full range of inpatient and outpatient hepatology services.
Most of our inpatients are looked after on Ward 16 at the Freeman Hospital.
Following a liver transplant, our patients are looked after on the Intensive Care Unit (Ward 37) and Ward 38, Institute of Transplantation.
Patients requiring a day case procedure are admitted to the Day Treatment Centre on Ward 4. This might be for:
- drainage of ascites (abnormal build up of fluid in the abdomen),
- liver biopsy (removing small amounts of tissues or cells for investigation), or
- venesection (taking blood)
We work closely with dieticians, physiotherapy, social work and specialist nurses in substance misuse.
Our clinics run from the Freeman Hospital‘s main outpatient department and CRESTA (Clinics for Research and Service in Themed Assessment) at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality in the west end of Newcastle.
In addition to general hepatology clinics we have specialist clinics in:
- viral hepatitis
- autoimmune liver disease
- non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- cancer of the liver
- liver transplantation
Liver transplant service
Transplant surgery takes place at the Institute of Transplantation, a purpose built facility which brings together all aspects of transplantation under one roof.
Newcastle’s liver transplant service was set up at the Freeman Hospital in 1992. Since this time we have carried out over 1000 liver transplants.
The Freeman is one of very few hospitals in the country that can provide multi-organ transplantation (liver, kidney, pancreas, heart and lungs).
Many of our doctors also carry out upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy.
We work closely with our colleagues in gastroenterology and hepatobiliary surgery.
Our unit is supported by experts in diagnostic and interventional radiology, and liver pathology.