What is Gastroenterology?
Gastroenterology is the branch of medicine that looks at diseases of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach, small and large intestines (bowel), liver, gallbladder and pancreas.
The oesophagus is the tube that joins your mouth with your stomach. It is a muscular tube that contracts to push the food through when you swallow.
The stomach is where food is broken down by acid and emptied into your intestines. The stomach has special cells lining its wall to protect it from these acids.
The intestines consist of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum – different sections of small intestine) and the large intestine (colon). As food passes through the small intestine, nutrients are broken down and absorbed. When it passes into the colon, water is absorbed. The waste that is left is passed as faeces (poo).
The liver is roughly the size of a football and is on your right side just under your ribs. It stores vitamins, sugar and iron which are used by cells in the body for energy. It also clears the body of waste products and drugs, produces substances that are used to help blood clot and aid the immune system, and produces bile which aids in digestion.
The pancreas is an elongated organ that lies in the back of the mid-abdomen. It is responsible for producing digestive juices and certain hormones, including insulin, the main hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar.
A gastroenterologist is a doctor specialising in the field of medicine which involves these closely related organs.
The Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Auckland City Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre provides services to the Auckland District Health Board (DHB) catchment area via GP referral and tertiary services via specialist referral from other DHBs.
All outpatient clinic appointments are run through the ground floor at Greenlane Clinical Centre.
Routine outpatient gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures are carried out through the Endoscopy Suite on Level 2 at Greenlane Clinical Centre. This unit has a waiting room with reception, a small prep area, 1 procedure room and a 9 bed recovery.
For information about the Greenlane Clinical Centre location please click here
The Endoscopy Suite at Auckland City Hospital is reserved for acute inpatient work and urgent, or more complicated, outpatient procedures. This unit has a 7 bed recovery and 2 procedure rooms.
There is a dedicated team of nurses who work with the doctors over both sites to ensure patients are ready for their procedures. They are available over the phone to answer questions prior to appointments about prepping instructions, informed consent and medication information.
Janice Duxfield is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) who runs Hepatitis treatment clinics. Patients are referred to her after assessment in consultant clinics. Janice also takes care of PEG changes. Referrals for PEG changes can come direct from the patient, rest home, dietitians, caregivers or GPs.