Clinical Advances

Clinical Advances

The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology utilizes the latest technology and outstanding equipment for highly technical diagnosis and treatment of complex disorders. The result is fewer complications and better patient outcomes, more quickly than ever before.

UVA has been very active in the development of new methods to deal with gastric varices which often present a unique and challenging clinical situation either in the setting of spontaneous gastro-renal shunts in cirrhosis or among patients with portal vein thrombotic disease. Early investigations of cyanoacrylate injection, initiated in 1997 by Dr. Caldwell, have led to a number of publications and to the development of a multidisciplinary team of physicians from GI/Hepatology, Interventional Radiology and Surgery who collaborate to triage patients to optimal management, including:

  • Endoscopic procedures with various forms of cyanoacrylate
  • Radiological interventions, including the advanced use of BRTO (balloon retrograde transvenous occlusion)
  • Surgical or a combined discipline approach as with the reverse TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) approach.


The availability of a highly skilled, multidisciplinary team has led to this center becoming a quaternary referral center for this condition.


  • RITA - Radio Frequency Interstital Thermal Ablation - now we are able to locate and remove previously inoperable tumors using laparoscopic technology.

  • APC - Argon Plasma Coagulation -The Digestive Health Center was the first medical center in the commonwealth of Virginia to offer Argon Plasma Coagulation, an intervention that can be used to stop bleeding, treat vascular problems in the gut such as arteriovenous malformation of the pancreas (AVM), gastric antral vascular ectasia (GAVE) and to shrink tumors throughout the gut. It works well in tandem with metallic stents in patients with blockages and is a valuable tool that has taken its place at the DHCoE along with conventional laser therapy.

  • EUS - Endoscopy Ultrasound Scope - highly accurate endoscopic scope utilizing ultrasound to locate tumors that were previously only identifiable through exploratory surgery. A thermal ablation needle can be used to eliminate the tumor.


These are just a couple of the many technological advances available to our patients. The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology is always working with industry partners to put into use the most advanced technology to benefit the health of our patients.