"Interdisciplinary Endoscopy Centre" opens at Heidelberg University Hospital Patients profit from teamwork between internists, surgeons and anaesthetists
Heidelberg University Hospital has just opened Germany's first Interdisciplinary Endoscopy Centre run jointly round the clock by internists, surgeons and anaesthetists. It is located at the new Hospital for Internal Medicine and assembles all the modern approaches to the examination of the stomach and the intestines. The Centre can deal with about 10,000 endoscopic examinations annually with the highest degree of technical sophistication.
For patients the close cooperation between representatives of these three medical disciplines has immense advantages. "Treatment comes from one single source," explained Professor Dr. Wolfgang Stremmel, medical director of the gastroenterology department of Heidelberg's Hospital for Internal Medicine, at a press conference on 12 October in Heidelberg. "As a team, the doctors can decide immediately between all the available therapies or opt for medication or an operation." The patient is spared repeated examinations, which also lowers costs.
Anaesthetists available in emergencies and to provide narcosis for severely ill patients
The constant presence of anaesthetists rounds off the comprehensive care available for emergencies, the treatment of severely ill patients and all other cases where narcosis is required. "The anaesthetist stabilises severely ill patients and ensures that the doctors can conduct their examinations without distraction and with a high degree of security," noted Professor Dr. Bernd Böttiger, chief senior consultant at Heidelberg University's Anaesthetics Hospital. Sedation also ensures that the patient is more comfortable during the examination.
So far, endoscopic examinations have been conducted both at the Surgical Hospital and at the Hospital for Internal Medicine. These services and the staff providing them have now been brought together at one location. "The Interdisciplinary Centre is a genuine innovation in patient care," said Professor Dr. Markus W. Büchler, administrative director of Heidelberg University's Surgical Hospital. "Patients are no longer looked after either by a surgeon or an internist but by a team of doctors choosing the right therapy together."
Early tumour detection during endoscopy
The new Centre is headed by an internist and a surgeon, privatdozent Dr. Peter Sauer, senior consultant at the gastroenterology department and Dr. Anja Schaible, hitherto in charge of surgical endoscopy. In line with the specialist priorities of the University Hospital (Transplant Centre, National Tumour Centre, European Pancreas Centre) most endoscopic examinations here are performed on patients before or after a liver transplant and patients with a tumour in the stomach, the intestines or the pancreas or suffering from inflammation of the pancreas or the intestines.
With the modern technical equipment available, numerous operations can be performed directly via the endoscope with on-screen monitoring. These include the removal of tumours and tumour precursors, treatment for inflammations, the removal of gall-stones and the insertion of "stents", wire-mesh tubes used, for example, in ensuring that occluded bile ducts remain open. With the aid of special dyes and ultrasonic examinations via the endoscope, tumour precursors can be detected and distinguished very precisely from healthy tissue.
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