Liver Diseases Treatments in Sheba Medical Center
Although the liver is sometimes considered a digestive organ, it has several important roles in the body. Along with the kidneys, it aids in detoxification. It also regulates the contents of the blood, including fat and protein.
Unfortunately, the liver is subject to several diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis. The Center for Liver Diseases at Sheba Medical Center provides advanced, integrative treatment for liver patients and support for their families. We believe in offering world-class medicine with a personal touch and achieve this by providing each patient with an expert, caring, and an interdisciplinary team consisting of hepatologists, gastroenterologists, hepatobiliary surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, and support staff. The unit treats approximately 6,500 patients every year.
Liver conditions treated at our facility include:
- Fatty liver disease.
- Viral hepatitis, both acute and chronic, of all types.
- Benign liver tumors.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma.
- Acute liver failure.
- Portal hypertension.
- Cirrhosis of the liver.
- Liver transplant evaluation and follow up care.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and usually refers to a viral disease. While there are several types of the hepatitis virus, all can be transmitted by contact with infected blood and other body fluids or by consuming contaminated food. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B, but not for hepatitis C.
The average incubation period, or time before symptoms appear, is 45 days for viral hepatitis. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain, dark urine, and jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes. Hepatitis B and C usually result in chronic infections, while hepatitis A has an acute course. Hepatitis B and C patients will need lifelong monitoring in the form of blood tests and other diagnostics. They should avoid alcohol to prevent aggravation of hepatitis symptoms.
Cirrhosis is liver damage in the form of scarring and may be due to a variety of causes, but two of the most common are hepatitis and alcohol abuse. Other causes included autoimmune disorders and advanced fatty liver disease. Symptoms of cirrhosis include pain and edema, or swelling, in the legs, pain in the abdomen, and jaundice.
Treatment for cirrhosis is typically in the form of treatment for the underlying cause and may include abstinence from alcohol and weight loss. Liver function blood tests and imaging in the form of ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRI scans are often needed. Some advanced cases may require a liver transplant. In the United States, there are over 200,000 cases of liver cirrhosis every year.
The Center for Liver Diseases at Sheba Medical Center features several advanced offerings for the specialized treatment of specific liver disorders. These include elastography, a diagnostic tool used the measure the elasticity of hepatic tissue. This technique provides critical data to physicians on the state of liver tissue and can be used in conjunction with ultrasound. The data is then used to formulate treatment plans, such as antiviral therapy. Sheba also has specialized software that can precisely measure fat content in patients with fatty liver disease.
We also have clinics solely for patients with chronic hepatitis B and C infections. These clinics serve both outpatients and inpatients and provide several critical procedures, like draining of ascites fluid and administration of intravenous medications. In addition, ultrasound guided liver biopsies for definitive diagnoses are available.
The Center for Liver Diseases is headed by Prof. Ziv Ben Ari. Prof. Ben Ari received advanced liver transplant and hepatology training at the Royal Free Hospital in London and is the current chair of the Israeli Association for the Study of the Liver. She is also a member of the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.
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