About this service
Hepatology is part of the Gastroenterology department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. Our specialist team assesses patients with abnormal liver function tests and cares for patients with acute and chronic liver disorders. We provide inpatient care on our specialist Gastroenterology and Liver Unit and provide outpatient services throughout Cornwall.
Specialist investigative services
We provide patients with the following investigative services:
- endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of oesophageal and gastric varices
- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) – gallstone removal from the bile duct
- percutaneous biliary drainage (PTC) – for blocked bile ducts
- laparoscopic cholecystectomy/open cholecystectomy – gallbladder removal
- biliary and pancreatic endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
- transcatheter arterial chemoembolisation (TACE) for liver tumours
- hepatic venous wedge pressure (HVWP) measurements
- FibroScan – a non-invasive method of assessing liver fibrosis
Alcohol liaison service
The Alcohol Liaison Team (ALT) are based at RCHT and clinically support patients who attend hospital with either direct or indirectly related alcohol harm and health related issues.
We assist the Emergency Department and wards on a daily basis with affective patient care plans, signposting, referrals and updates to community support services and safe discharges. We can also provide telephone support to community hospitals.
For patients who develop alcohol withdrawal and associated complications, ALT will provide clinical treatments plans with regular input and advice.
Community Hepatology Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Therapy
We work with We Are With You (formerly known as Addaction) to treat patients with hepatitis C. This includes services in the community from a specialist nurse and FibroScan for HCV assessment. In some cases, we may treat you at home.
Hepatobiliary and pancreatic cancer
The hepatobiliary and pancreatic (HBP) cancer team looks after patients who have, or who are suspected of having, cancer of the bile duct, gallbladder, liver or pancreas.
Patients with end stage liver disease can have a heavy symptom burden and may need access to other services alongside Hepatology services. To find out more, please visit our Palliative and End of Life Care page.
An Advance Care Plan is a plan which ensures that someone’s wants and needs are followed, especially when they are no longer able to express them. This can be supported by the hepatology team and also through Cornwall Hospice Care neighbourhood hubs.
Where to find us
We have many clinics and locations (see below). Your appointment letter will tell you where to go, please read it carefully before attending.
Information about liver conditions
For more information about liver conditions, we recommend using the British Liver Trust’s website:
Patient Information (Leaflets)
General hepatology clinics
We see a range of patients at our general clinics, including those with:
- alcohol- and non-alcohol-related liver disease
- liver cirrhosis and its complications
- inherited and metabolic liver disease including Wilson’s disease, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), haemochromatosis and glycogen storage diseases.)
- autoimmune-related liver disease including primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), autoimmune hepatitis and immunoglobulin G4 related disease (IgG4)
- gallbladder disease
|Royal Cornwall Hospital or St Austell (Face to face)||Monday||pm|
|Video Consultation/Telephone (2 Clinics)||Tuesday||am|
|Royal Cornwall Hospital (Face to face)||Tuesday||pm|
|Video/Telephone (1-2 clinic)||Wednesday||am|
|Royal Cornwall Hospital (Face to face) – 2 clinics||Wednesday||am|
|Video/Telephone Consultation (3 clinic)||Thursday||am|
|Royal Cornwall Hospital (Face to face)||Thursday||am|
|Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital (Face to face) – 2 clinics||Thursday||pm|
|Royal Cornwall Hospital (Face to face)||Friday||pm|
Hot hepatobiliary clinics and Jaundice Hotline clinics
Our jaundice hotline clinics are for patients with acute jaundice. You may be invited to attend one of our hot hepatobiliary clinics if:
- You have recently been diagnosed with cancer of the liver, bile duct or pancreas, so that we can discuss your diagnosis, and how best we can manage or treat your cancer.
- You have recently been diagnosed with decompensated cirrhosis, so that we can follow up with you after you’ve been discharged from hospital.
- You have acute decompensation, so that we can manage your condition without you needing to be admitted to hospital.
- You are a transplant patient, so that we can review you.
|Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro (Face to face)||Tuesday||2pm|
|Camborne and Redruth Community Hospital (Face to face)||Thursday||2pm|
At our alcohol related hepatology clinics, we see patients with alcohol related liver disease. The clinics are nurse-led and coordinate with general hepatology team. These clinics provide support for alcohol minimisation and abstention.
|Alcohol Liaison Clinic (Telephone)||Wednesday||pm|
|Alcohol related liver disease with professional liaison (Telephone/Video)||Tuesday and Wednesday||am|
A FibroScan is a type of ultrasound that can measure the degree of inflammation and scarring in your liver, which allows us to plan your treatment.
It is a simple, painless test that uses high frequency sound waves. A FibroScan gives immediate results. It does not have any potential complications or risks and is non-invasive, which means that it does not break the skin or enter your body.
Appointments run from 9am – 4:15pm and vary between hospital.
Please check your appointment letter fully to confirm where you are to be seen.
- Monday – Royal Cornwall Hospital
- Tuesday – No clinics running
- Wednesday – Royal Cornwall Hospital and West Cornwall Hospital, in the Outpatients department
- Thursday – St Austell Community Hospital (Penrice), Outpatients.
- Friday – Royal Cornwall Hospital and West Cornwall Hospital, in the Outpatients department
Day-case paracentesis (drainage of abdominal fluid)
If you have an accumulation of fluid in your abdomen, it may need to be drained using a procedure called paracentesis (or abdominal tap).
We do paracentesis as day surgery, so unless you’re already staying in hospital, you won’t need to stay overnight.
During a paracentesis a small drainage tube is placed through the skin into the fluid. You’ll be given a local anaesthetic before the drain is put in. The nurse will then use ultrasound to guide the tube into place. The drain stays in place for around six hours.
Day-case paracentesis takes place at the Medical Day Unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, Monday to Friday.
We run a number of endoscopy clinics to assess and treat conditions such as gastrointestinal bleeding, jaundice due to malignancy or gallstone disease or bile duct and pancreatic disease. If you need more information or to change your appointment, please call 01872 252616 between 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
We help haemochromatosis patients reduce liver damage using a procedure called venesection or phlebotomy. It reduces the amount of iron in your body and helps to relieve some of your symptoms.
Haemochromatosis clinic times and locations
The clinic takes place at the Medical Day Unit at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro on Thursdays.
Page last reviewed: 29 November 2023