Providing world-leading care to patients with Gastrointestinal diseases 

The combined resources of the Zeidler Gastroenterology Health Centre, the state of the art Allan H. Owen Endoscopy Suite, and a research laboratory - all under one roof and in close proximity to each other - makes the program unique in North America.

Doctors and basic science researchers work together. Applying discoveries made in the research lab to advance patient care. Then taking what’s been learned at the bedside back to the lab for further testing and research.

That’s how the program is setting a new standard in patient care - the gold standard. And creating new knowledge in Gastroenterology at the University of Alberta Hospital, and applying it to patient care.

Gastrointestinal disease in Alberta

Alberta has among the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the world. The University of Alberta Hospital also runs the second largest liver transplant program in Canada, performing approximately 80 per year. It is well known that Edmonton’s emergencies rooms are very busy. The number one reason for a visit to the University of Alberta Hospital’s emergency unit is gastrointestinal-related.

Important and common conditions include upper and lower GI bleeding, GI cancers including large bowel cancer, reflux disease, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), C. difficile infections and serious liver disease, including cirrhosis, viral hepatitis and liver cancer among others.

Gastrointestinal disease in Alberta

Your support of the Gastrointestinal program at the University of Alberta Hospital will ensure that patients facing debilitating GIand liver conditions will continue to receive world-leading care.

Case in point

Dedicated medical teams at the Allan H.Owen Endoscopy Suite provide advanced therapeutic endoscopic care to patients from across Alberta, northern and western Canada, and as far east as the Maritimes.

Using the most advanced imaging equipment and leading edge technology, doctors can go inside a patient’s intestine and remove polyps and cancer cells, apply stitches, perform biopsies and crush gallstones – all without making an incision. Doctors can also see deep inside the body – for example, the gallbladder and pancreas - and access areas where regular scopes simply cannot reach, like the middle of the small intestine (“the last frontier inendoscopy”) using so called single and double balloon endoscopic technology. This technology is only available in very few centers in Canada and North America.

Specialized research

Inside the Allan H. Owen Endoscopy Suite is a specialized research facility. Samples of DNA, RNA, blood, serum and urine are stored in what is known as a biobank.

More than 82,000 specimens, drawn from nearly all of the 3500 patients who attended the suite for treatment in 2014, have been collected and stored onsite in large, liquid nitrogen containers.

These samples form the basis of a worldwide quest for new tests and treatments for devastating gastrointestinal disorders. They also lead to the discovery of new cures. In recent years, research conducted at the University of Alberta Hospital has led to cures for potentially life-threatening duodenal ulcers and C. difficile infections. For the latter we now have a cutting edge stool transplant program up and running that covers the spectrum from bench to bedside.

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