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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
NamesDoctor, Medical Specialist
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Education required







Fields of
Hospitals, clinics
Fluoroscopic image of common bile duct

Hepatology is the branch of medicine that incorporates the study of liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, and pancreas as well as management of their disorders. Although traditionally considered a sub-specialty of gastroenterology, rapid expansion has led in some countries to doctors specializing solely on this area, who are called hepatologists.

Diseases and complications related to viral hepatitis and alcohol are the main reason for seeking specialist advice. More than two billion people have been infected with hepatitis B virus at some point in their life, and approximately 350 million have become persistent carriers.[1] Up to 80% of liver cancers can be attributed to either hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus. In terms of mortality, the former is second only to smoking among known agents causing cancer. With more widespread implementation of vaccination and strict screening before blood transfusion, lower infection rates are expected in the future.[citation needed] In many countries, however, overall alcohol consumption is increasing, and consequently the number of people with cirrhosis and other related complications is commensurately increasing.[citation needed]

Schematic diagram of hepato-biliary system

Scope of specialty[edit]

As for many medical specialties, patients are most likely to be referred by family physicians (i.e., GP) or by physicians from different disciplines. The reasons might be:


Dr. B Blumberg, awarded Nobel prize 1976 for discovery of hepatitis B virus

Evidence from autopsies on Egyptian mummies suggests that liver damage from the parasitic infection bilharziasis was widespread in the ancient society.[2] It is possible that the Greeks may have been aware of the liver's ability to exponentially duplicate as illustrated by the story of Prometheus. However, knowledge about liver disease in antiquity is questionable. Most of the important advances in the field have been made in the last 50 years.[when?]

The word hepatology is from Ancient Greek ἧπαρ (hepar) or ἡπατο- (hepato-), meaning "liver", and -λογία (-logia), meaning "study".

Disease classification[edit]

1. International Classification of Disease (ICD 2007) – WHO classification:

  • Chapter XI: Diseases of the digestive system[13]
    • K70-K77 Diseases of liver
    • K80-K87 Disorders of gallbladder, biliary tract and pancreas

2. MeSH (medical subject heading):sam

  • G02.403.776.409.405 same as "Gastroenterology"[14]
  • C06.552 Liver Diseases[15]
  • C06.130 Biliary Tract Diseases[16]
  • C06.689 Pancreatic diseases[17]

3. National Library of Medicine Catalogue[18]

  • WI 700-740 Liver and biliary tree Diseases[19]
  • WI 800-830 Pancrease[20]

Also see Hepato-biliary diseases

Important procedures[edit]


  1. ^ "WHO | Hepatitis B". Retrieved 2010-03-17.
  2. ^ Rosalie David A, Contis G (1996). "Paleopathology on schistosomiasis in Egyptian mummies". Parasitol. Today (Regul. Ed.). 12 (4): 167. doi:10.1016/0169-4758(96)80811-8. PMID 15275234.
  3. ^ "Aphorisms.mb.txt". Archived from the original on 11 February 2005. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  4. ^ "History of Liver, Gallbladder, and Spleen". Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  5. ^ a b H. S.J. Lee, ed. (1999). Dates in Gastroenterology: A Chronological Record of Progress in Gastroenterology over the Last Millennium (Landmarks in Medicine). Informa Healthcare. ISBN 1-85070-502-X.
  6. ^ Moodley J; Singh B; Lalloo S; Pershad S; et al. (2001). "Non-operative management of haemobilia". The British Journal of Surgery. 88 (8): 1073–76. doi:10.1046/j.0007-1323.2001.01825.x. PMID 11488792. S2CID 8124234.
  7. ^ "Victor Charles Hanot". Whonamedit.com. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  8. ^ "eMedicine - History of Pediatric Liver Transplantation : Article by Beth A Carter, MD". Emedicine.com. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  9. ^ "History of Liver Transplantation". Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2009.
  10. ^ STARZL TE; MARCHIORO TL; VONKAULLA KN; HERMANN G; et al. (1963). "Homotransplantation Of The Liver In Humans". Surgery, Gynecology & Obstetrics. 117: 659–76. PMC 2634660. PMID 14100514.
  11. ^ "Baruch S. Blumberg - Autobiography". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 18 May 2007.
  12. ^ a b "Brief_History_HCV_10.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-09-25. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-22. Retrieved 2020-10-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "G02.403.776.409.405 same as "Gastroenterology"". Nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Liver Diseases". Nih.gov. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Biliary Tract Diseases". Nih.gov. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Pancreatic Diseases". Nih.gov. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  18. ^ "NLM Classification Home Page". Nih.gov. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  19. ^ "NLM Classification Schedule WI". wwwcf.nlm.nih.gov. Archived from the original on 19 October 2004. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  20. ^ "NLM Classification Schedule WI". wwwcf.nlm.nih.gov. Archived from the original on 19 October 2004. Retrieved 17 January 2022.