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Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis; Chronic liver disease; End-stage liver disease

Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver and poor liver function. It is the last stage of chronic liver disease.

Images

Clubbing
Digestive system organs
Digestive system
Liver cirrhosis, CT scan

I Would Like to Learn About:

Causes

Cirrhosis is the end result of chronic liver damage caused by chronic liver disease. Common causes of chronic liver disease in the United States are:

Less common causes of cirrhosis include:

Symptoms

There may be no symptoms, or symptoms may come on slowly, depending on how well the liver is working. Often, it is discovered by chance when an x-ray is done for another reason.

Early symptoms include:

As liver function worsens, symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will do a physical exam to look for:

You may have the following tests to measure liver function:

Other tests to check for liver damage include:

You might need a liver biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Some things you can do to help take care of your liver disease are:

MEDICINES FROM YOUR DOCTOR

OTHER TREATMENTS

When cirrhosis progresses to end-stage liver disease, a liver transplant may be needed.

Support Groups

You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a liver disease support group whose members share common experiences and problems.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Cirrhosis is caused by scarring of the liver. In most cases, the liver cannot heal or return to normal function once damage is severe. Cirrhosis can lead to serious complications.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you develop symptoms of cirrhosis.

Get emergency medical help right away if you have:

Prevention

DO NOT drink alcohol heavily. Talk to your provider if you are worried about your drinking. Take steps to prevent getting or passing hepatitis B or C.

Related Information

Liver disease
Ascites
Bleeding disorders
High blood pressure
Hepatic encephalopathy
Alcohol use and safe drinking
Alcoholic liver disease
Bleeding esophageal varices
Alertness - decreased
Sepsis
Liver cancer - hepatocellular carcinoma
Hepatorenal syndrome
Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS)
Cirrhosis - discharge

References

Chalasani N, Younossi Z, Lavine JE, et al. The diagnosis and management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: practice Guideline by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, and the AmericanGastroenterological Association. Hepatology. 2012;55(6):2005-23. PMID: 22488764 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22488764.

Garcia-Tsao G, Lim JK; Members of Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Resource Center Program. Management and treatment of patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension: recommendations from the Department of Veterans Affairs Hepatitis C Resource Center Program and the National Hepatitis C Program. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(7):1802-29. PMID: 19455106 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19455106.

Garcia-Tsao G. Cirrhosis and its sequelae. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 153.

Kamath PS, Shah VH. Overview of cirrhosis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 74.

Mehta G, Rothstein KD. Health maintenance issues in cirrhosis. Med Clin North Am. 2009;93(4):901-15. PMID: 19577121 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19577121.

O'Shea RS, Dasarathy S, McCullough AJ. Alcoholic liver disease. Hepatology. 2010;105(1). PMID: 19904248 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19904248.

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Review Date: 8/14/2015  

Reviewed By: Subodh K. Lal, MD, gastroenterologist at Gastrointestinal Specialists of Georgia, Austell, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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