Gastroenterology (MeSH heading [] ) is the branch of medicine whereby the digestive system and its disorders are studied. Etymologically, the name is a combination of three Ancient Greek words "gastros" (stomach), "enteron" (intestine), and "logos" (reason).

Diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the organs from mouth to anus, along the alimentary canal, are the focus of this specialty. Physicians practicing in this field of medicine are called gastroenterologists. Important advances have been made in the last fifty years, contributing to rapid expansion of its scope.

Hepatology, or hepatobiliary medicine, encompasses the study of the liver, pancreas, and biliary tree and is traditionally considered a sub-specialty.


Citing from Egyptian papyri, Nunn identified significant knowledge of gastrointestinal diseases among practising physicians during the periods of the pharaohs. Irynakhty, of the tenth dynasty, c. 2125 B.C., was a court physician specialising in gastroenterology and proctology. [Nunn JF. Ancient Egyptian Medicine. 2002. ISBN 0-80613-504-2.]

Among ancient Greeks, Hippocrates attributed digestion to concoction. Galen's concept of the stomach having four "faculties" was widely accepted up to modernity in the eighteenth century.

Eighteenth century:
* Italian Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729–99) was among early physicians to disregard Galen's theories, and in 1780 he gave experimental proof on the action of gastric juice on foodstuffs.
* In 1767, German Johann von Zimmermann wrote an important work on dysentery.
* In 1777, Maximilian Stoll of Vienna described cancer of the gallbladder. [Edgardo Rivera, MDJames L. Abbruzzese, MD; Pancreatic, Hepatic, and Biliary Carcinomas, MEDICAL ONCOLOGY: A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW [] ] [DeStoll M: Rationis Mendendi, in Nosocomio Practico vendobonensi.Part 1 LugduniBatavarum, Haak et Socios et A et J Honkoop 1788, OCLC: 23625746]

Nineteenth century:
* In 1805, Philip Bozzini made the first attempt to observe inside the living human body using a tube he named "Lichtleiter" (light guiding instrument) to examine the urinary tract, the rectum, and the pharynx. This is the earliest description of endoscopy. [Gilger, Mark A. MD,Gastroenterologic endoscopy in children: past, present, and future. Gastroenterology and nutritionCurrent Opinion in Pediatrics. 13(5):429-434, October 2001.] [ [ The Origin of Endoscopes, Olympus history] ]
* Charles Emile Troisier described enlargement of lymph nodes in abdominal cancer. [Anton Sebastian,A Dictionary of the History of Medicine, ISBN 1850700214 ]
* In 1868, Adolf Kussmaul, a well-known German physician, developed the gastroscope. He perfected the technique on a sword swallower.
* In 1871, at the society of physicians in Vienna, Carl Stoerk demonstrated an esophagoscope made of two telescopic metal tubes, initially devised by Waldenburg in 1870.
* In 1876, Karl Wilhelm von Kupffer described the properties of some liver cells now called Kupffer cell.
* In 1884, Kronecker and Meltzern studied oesophageal manometry in humans.

Twentieth century:
* Rudolph Schindler described many important diseases involving the human digestive system during World War I in his illustrated textbook and is portrayed by some as the "father of gastroscopy". He and Georg Wolf developed a semiflexible gastroscope in 1932.
* In 1932, Burrill Bernard Crohn described Crohn's disease.
* In 1957, Basil Hirschowitz introduced the first prototype of a fibreoptic gastroscope.

Twenty-first century:
* In 2005, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren of Australia were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of "Helicobacter pylori" (1982/1983) and its role in peptic ulcer disease. James Leavitt assisted in their research, but the Nobel Prize is not awarded posthumously so he was not included in the award.

Disease classification

1. International Classification of Disease(ICD 2007)/WHO classification:

*Chapter XI,Diseases of the digestive system,(K00-K93) [] 2. MeSH subject Heading:

*Gastroenterology (G02.403.776.409.405) []
*Gastroenterological diseases(C06.405) [] 3. National Library of Medicine Catalogue(NLM classification 2006):

*Digestive system(W1) []

Gastroenterological societies

* American College of Gastroenterology
* American Gastroenterological Association
* American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
* British Society of Gastroenterology


External links

* [ Virtual Gastro Centre]
* [ - Gastrohep]
* [ The Digital Atlas of Video Education - Gastroenterology]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gastroenterology — Специализация: гастроэнтерология Периодичность: 13 выпусков в год Сокращённое название: Gastroenterol. Язык: английский Главный редактор: Anil K. Rustgi …   Википедия

  • gastroenterology — 1904, from GASTRO (Cf. gastro ) + enterology. Related: Gastroenterologist …   Etymology dictionary

  • gastroenterology — [gas΄trōen΄tər äl′ə jē] n. [ GASTRO + ENTER(O) + OLOGY] the medical specialty that is concerned with disorders of the digestive system gastroenterologist n …   English World dictionary

  • gastroenterology — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: circa 1904 a branch of medicine concerned with the structure, functions, diseases, and pathology of the stomach and intestines • gastroenterological adjective • gastroenterologist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • gastroenterology — gastroenterologic /gas troh en teuhr euh loj ik/, gastroenterological, adj. gastroenterologist, n. /gas troh en teuh rol euh jee/, n. the study of the structure, functions, and diseases of digestive organs. [1900 05; GASTROENTERO + LOGY] * * *… …   Universalium

  • gastroenterology — noun The study of the digestive system, from mouth to anus. May also include the study of accessory organs: pancreas, liver, gallbladder and bile ducts …   Wiktionary

  • gastroenterology — The medical specialty concerned with the function and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomach, intestines, and associated organs. [gastro + G. enteron, intestine, + logos, study] * * * gas·tro·en·ter·ol·o·gy .ent ə räl ə jē n …   Medical dictionary

  • gastroenterology — study of stomach; intestines Sciences and Studies …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • gastroenterology — n. study of the digestive system and its diseases …   English contemporary dictionary

  • gastroenterology — [ˌgastrəʊɛntə rɒlədʒi] noun the branch of medicine which deals with disorders of the stomach and intestines. Derivatives gastroenterological adjective gastroenterologist noun …   English new terms dictionary

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