In fact, the expansion that the Gastroenterology Unit has experienced in recent years, especially in the area of endoscopy and medical treatment in pathologies of the digestive tract, liver, bile ducts and pancreas, as well as preventive treatment of digestive tract diseases, namely cancer. Focusing on excellent care, fundamentally based on the safety of all procedures, justified the investment in state-of-the-art equipment and human resources of the Gastroenterology Unit at the HPA Gambelas.

With new facilities that include a large examination room with fluoroscopy support, an additional 6 bed recovery room, and clinical re-accreditation by the Joint Commission International, all the conditions are met to make this special examination unit a place of reference for advanced endoscopic techniques.

An example of this differentiation lies in the recent specialized consultations, of which the Hepatology Consultation is an example.

In the Hepatology consultation, liver disease is addressed, from the investigation of test result alterations to follow-up of patients with chronic conditions, such as liver cirrhosis. During this consultation, the Gastroenterologist may perform a complementary diagnostic examination known as the Hepatic Fibroscan®.

The Hepatic Fibroscan®, also known as Hepatic Elastography, is used to diagnose liver function, namely to evaluate and quantify fibrosis and hepatic steatosis (fat) (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), but also to diagnose and follow-up diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, biliary diseases, metabolic or autoimmune diseases, among other conditions.

Hepatic Steatosis occurs due to excessive accumulation of fat in the hepatocytes (liver cells), where healthy liver tissue is partially replaced by unhealthy areas of fat, resulting in an enlarged and heavier liver. This accumulation may be due to metabolic changes or a response of the liver to an aggression to its functioning.

Presently the HPA in Gambelas is the only hospital in the Algarve to have a FibroScan®, an equipment that has proven top level results as far as early diagnosis is concerned, a crucial aspect in the field of liver diseases. Furthermore, this is a non-invasive, completely painless test, does not use radiation and is carried out in a few minutes (approximately 10 minutes), no specific preparation is required (fasting for 3-4 hours is recommended), with results provided to the patient immediately after the exam.

In the near future, new specialized consultations have also been programmed, such as the Pancreas and Biliary Consultation, the Digestive Cancer Family Risk Consultation and the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Consultation. As far as diagnostic techniques are concerned, high-resolution Oesophageal Manometry and Oesophageal pH-metry with Impedance will soon be available. These techniques will support benign Oesophageal-Gastric Surgery, such as the treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux and other diseases of Oesophageal motility.