Hepatitis Treatment ProgramThe Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Hepatitis Treatment Program is Wisconsin’s premier site for the treatment and study of viral liver disease. A multidisciplinary team member, including a nurse specializing in hepatitis treatment, delivers exceptional care to more than 1,000 patients with viral hepatitis each year. The Hepatitis Clinic, dedicated to treating people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C, is one of only two sites in Wisconsin offering specialized care for people with hepatitis.
Program staff conduct research to study the effects of new drugs and treatments that can improve outcomes for patients with hepatitis and other liver diseases.
In addition to hepatitis, many other diseases and disorders can cause the liver to function improperly or stop functioning. These include liver tumors and cirrhosis. Hepatologists (physicians who specialize in liver disease) at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin provide care for people with acute and chronic liver disease as well as end-stage liver disease. Most people with liver disease can be treated without surgery.
Team members, including hepatologists, physician assistants, nurses and others, are highly trained and experienced in all types of liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders and transplant. Outpatient care is provided in the GI/Hepatology Clinic at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, where staff provides care for cases ranging from mild liver disease to post-transplant care. Hepatologists also provide consultation on the care of inpatients with liver disease.
Treatment for liver disease may include:
- Treatment of hepatitis — Hepatitis B may be treated with Interferon therapies or oral medications that prevent the virus from reproducing. Hepatitis C is usually treated with a combination of the drugs Interferon and ribavirin.
- Treatment of cirrhosis — treatment can stop or delay further progression of cirrhosis (irreversible scarring of the liver) and reduce complications. Treatment involves treating the underlying cause of the liver disease to avoid further injury to the liver, monitoring for complications and, if they are present, beginning treatment to manage them.
- Liver tumors — treatment of liver tumors depends on the type of tumor, the number of tumors their size and location. To determine treatment, hepatologists consult with oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, surgeons and other team members to develop an optimal treatment plan for each patient.
Liver Transplant Evaluation and Follow-up CareLiver failure can occur suddenly, or it can be the end result of chronic liver disease. A liver transplant may be considered for a patient whose liver function is declining. The Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Liver Transplant Program performs about 40 liver transplants each year.
Many team members work together to coordinate the many aspects of a liver transplant, including transplant surgeons, hepatologists, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists, dietitians and others. Team members meet with transplant surgeons each week to discuss all liver transplant candidates.
Patients with end-stage liver disease are evaluated in the GI/Hepatology Clinic to determine if they are appropriate candidates for transplant. Blood tests to assess the degree of liver function are conducted. The results are used to calculate the patient’s chance of survival over the next one, three and five years. This helps to determine if the chance of survival is higher with the patient’s own liver or with a transplanted liver.
Patients who undergo organ transplant receive care in a dedicated inpatient transplant unit at Froedtert & The Medical College, staffed by nurses specially trained to care for transplant patients. Post-transplant patients are seen daily by hepatologists for the medical component of their care, and by surgeons for post-surgical care. Long-term follow-up care for transplant patients continues under the care of a hepatologist in the Transplant Clinic, where transplant surgeons are also readily available.
For patients with end-stage liver disease who are not candidates for a liver transplant, palliative care is offered.
Author: Marla Fraunfelder
|Medical Reviewer: ||Kia Saeian, MD, MSC, EPi, FAGG|
|Medical College of Wisconsin gastroenterologist/hepatologist||